FLSA Violations Frequent For Low-Wage Laborers

Recent NewYork Times and Huffington Post articles have focused on the prevalence of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations amongst low wage laborers, often immigrants.

The FLSA provides many guarantees – including the guarantee of minimum wages and overtime compensation for non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a work in any work-week. The FLSA also sets forth child labor laws.

According to these articles, along with much anecdotal evidence, many of these workers face “constant and commonplace” workplace exploitation. In fact, in one group of workers interviewed none had ever been paid overtime, many were routinely hired the least desirable takes, and were sometimes forced to work on their one free day. One man reported “working 12 hours/day, seven days a week, and paid only $4/hour. ”

Unscrupulous employers may exploit these workers, taking advantage of employees due to their limited knowledge of employment laws and perhaps their undocumented status. U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis has recently launched a wage and hour campaign to raise awareness that labor laws protect all workers, regardless of immigration status.

However, exploitation occurs across all sectors where employers fail to pay all the compensation employees are due.

Further when “wage theft” occurs, everyone in the community suffers. While referencing New York, the same impact can occur in Atlanta, or any city where employees are denied a fair wage. A survey prepared by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) explains:

“Low-income families spend the large majority of the earnings on basic necessities, such as food, clothing and housing. Their expenditures circulate through local economies, supporting businesses and jobs. Wage theft robs local communities of this spending, and ultimately limits economic growth and vitality in …neighborhoods.”

The bottom line – almost every employee who works for a wage in the United States is entitled to protection under the FLSA, including minimum wages and overtime compensation.

If you believe you have been denied all compensation due, contact Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, dedicated to protecting employee’s rights.