Employers May Be Held Personally Liable For Overtime Wage And Pay Violations

The federal government wants to make sure you get paid what you deserve and that your employer is not taking advantage of you. In fact – the federal government is so employee friendly that in certain situations it will find public officials individually responsible for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The FLSA provides that all workers must be paid minimum wage and that “non-exempt” employees are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any one work week. However, FLSA violations are rampant and many times employers fail to pay workers the amount they are entitled to. If you have questions about your pay or believe that you may not have received all the compensation you deserve, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney right away.

A recent case determined that a CEO of a private company could be held personally liable for FLSA violations. Another recent case found that public officials could also be found individually liable.

In the situation involving the private company – Irizarry v. Catsimatidis – employees sued the chairman and CEO of Gristede’s Foods, Inc., John Catsimatidis personally to enforce payment of an overtime pay settlement. The 2d Circuit Court confirmed the District Court’s finding that that Catsimatidis was an employer under the FLSA and as a result, was personally responsible to the employees. The court based its decision on the fact that Catsimatidis was active involved in running the company. This included his having personal contact with the employees, stores, vendors, and customers. Also, Catsimatidis signed paychecks and supervised certain managerial personnel. This level of involvement created a employer/employee relationship and as a result, he was liable for paying damages after the business defaulted on its payments.

Similarly in the Kansas case, Lumry v. State, the Kansas Court of Appeals looked at whether public officials could be held individually liable when acting on behalf of the agency they worked for. The case involved the situation of an employee claiming he was fired in retaliation for asserting his rights under the FLSA. The court found that public officials could be held personally liable if the individuals sued had the power to hire and fire workers, (2) supervised and controlled employees’ work schedules or conditions of employment, (3) determined the rate and method of payment, and (4) maintained employment records.

Although the court found that the individuals sued in this case were not personally liable, the more important finding is that individuals may be found personally liable and responsible to pay damages if they violate your rights under the FLSA.

For more information or if you have a questions about your minimum wage or overtime pay rights, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.