Wage and hour lawsuits based on violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) have been on the rise for the last several years. The FLSA provides numerous work place regulations, but chief among them are provision that workers be paid at least minimum wage, and that non-exempt workers be paid at a rate of one and one-half their standard rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in any workweek.
One industry particularly hard hit with claims of violations is the restaurant sector. This includes wage and hour claims based on the failure to pay minimum wage, tip pool violations and improper record-keeping to avoid paying overtime compensation.
Common examples that may lead to these costly violations include misclassifications. This occurs where your employer improperly labels you as an independent contractor, or exempt rather than non-exempt. In these instances, you may be denied compensation, including over-time pay and certain benefits.
In fact, overtime pay violations are common, even where your classification is correctly designated as “non-exempt.” While non-exempt employees are generally supposed to received overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours, employers may try to skirt this obligation by having workers delay clocking in, working through break periods, or otherwise failing to record all time worked.
Tip pools also create potential legal issues, as very specific rules exist regarding who may participate in the pool, who may share in the monies received and who “owns” the tips earned. In general, cash received in the form of tips is intended for staff who is normally tipped – such as waitstaff. This may be used to ensure tipped employees earn at least minimum wage. These funds should not be shared with managers and supervisors. Improperly sharing tips is a common FLSA violation.
The FLSA is a complicated law with many provision, intended to protect workers with regards to many wage and hour issues. If you have questions or believe you have not been fairly compensated it is imperative to speak to an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney as soon as possible.
For more information or if you or a loved one has been denied the pay they deserve, please contact an experienced Georgia wage and hour lawyer at once for a case evaluation into your next steps. At Buckley Bala Wilson Mew, our dedicated FLSA attorneys are ready to help.