A recent survey found that nearly all investigated garment factories in the United States committed wage and hour violations. A staggering 94% of all factories reviewed were found in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA provides that all workers be paid at least the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hour) and that non-exempt employees be paid at a rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any one work week. Investigators found that many employees were paid far less than minimum wage – earning as little as $4.27 an hour – and that employers routinely failed to pay overtime wages.
In addition to the Department of Labor (DOL) fining these companies, and employees filing wage and hour lawsuits to recover lost wages and damages, the DOL also encourages retailers and other consumers not to buy from those companies that fail to comply with federal wage laws.
The degree of wage violations varies by industry, with the leading offenders restaurants, health care providers, and smaller retail establishments. While in some cases the violations are intentional (unscrupulous employers trying to save a few bucks by underpaying their staff), other times, the errors in pay are due to a lack of understanding of federal wage law. Regardless of the reason, employees should not be denied fair compensation. In order to ensure workers speak up if they believe they are not being paid what they legally deserve, the FLSA forbids employers from retaliating against workers who assert FLSA violations, even if no violations are found.
For more information or if you or a loved one has an FLSA question or concern, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.