Minneapolis Wage and Hour Attorney
Many employers try to take advantage of their employees by not paying the wages the law requires them to pay. Others think they are doing the right thing, but are ignorant of the law. In either case, all employers have a duty to follow the various federal and state laws that protect workers’ rights to wages.
The wage and hour laws we see employers violate most frequently are the ones that require employers to pay overtime compensation and to pay earned wages to former employees.
Unpaid Overtime Compensation
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), employers have a duty to pay “non-exempt” employees overtime compensation in an amount equal to one and a half times your normal hourly rate for any hours worked over 40 in a week. If you are a non-exempt employee and your employer fails to pay overtime compensation, you can sue your employer for unpaid wages. Additionally, it’s illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for invoking your rights under the FLSA.
Just about every time we bring an unpaid overtime compensation lawsuit, the employer argues that our client was exempt and therefore ineligible for overtime pay. And there is a laundry list of exemptions, including exemptions for executives, professionals, some managers, some employees of smaller companies, and persons employed in certain industries. The Department of Labor website provides a list of commonly used exemptions.
But, of course, employers often get it wrong and end up having to pay our clients whom they misclassified as exempt.
Failure to Pay Earned Wages to Former Employees
Many employers drag their feet when it comes to paying earned wages to former employees. They can’t do that.
Under state law, your former employer has to pay you your earned wages within 24 hours of termination if it fired you, and no later than the next payday if you resigned. If your employer fails to comply with these requirements, it is liable to you for your unpaid wages and a penalty equal to a day’s wages for each day it remains in noncompliance, up to 15 days.
Most wage and hour laws contain attorney fee shifting provisions, which means your employer has to pay your attorney fees if you win your case in court. These provisions allow us to take most wage and hour cases under contingent fee arrangements, which means you owe us nothing unless we are able to recover money for you.
Our client worked as a driver for a chiropractic clinic. For three years, he worked six- and seven-day work weeks for 10 to 12 hours a day driving patients to and from the clinic. The clinic never paid him overtime, and fired him when he complained about its failure to pay him the wages he was entitled to receive under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).
We sued the clinic on his behalf.
The clinic first took the position that the fancy job title it gave him, “Director of Transportation,” exempted it from paying him overtime wages. When the clinic figured out we weren’t backing down from our lawsuit, however, it did the right thing and paid him twice the amount of overtime wages it owed him, an amount equal to almost two years’ salary.
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