Employees deserve to be fairly compensated for the work that they do for their company. Unfortunately, in some cases, employers attempt to avoid paying additional compensation for work provided. Many employees are qualified for overtime wages despite not receiving them. Are you one of these workers? If so, contact Barkan Meizlish, LLP today to discuss your situation.
The Columbus minimum wage and overtime attorneys with Barkan Meizlish, LLP advise and represent workers across Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. We take all types of wage and hour cases involving violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), state and local minimum wage laws, and prevailing wage statutes.
We speak every day with employees who struggle to cover their basic living expenses because their employers refused to pay them fair compensation as the law dictates. We fight for back pay, interest on unpaid wages, front pay, and other types of compensatory and punitive damages. When warranted, our wage and hour attorneys also seek court orders to compel employers to document improvements in their compensation practices.
We can help you whether you are in Ohio, or anywhere in the United States. Barkan Meizlish, LLP files claims for unpaid wages or overtime under the FLSA nationwide. We also bring claims under the minimum wage and overtime statutes of many states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.
As wage and hour attorneys, much of our work is done under provisions of the FLSA and the Ohio Minimum Wage Fair Standards Act (“the Ohio Wage Act”). For the majority of hourly workers, the federal law mandates time-and-half for each 15-minute increment of work performed in excess of 40 hours during a 7-day week. Questions over who, exactly, qualifies to earn overtime get complicated and the answers change with updates to U.S. government policies. Anyone with concerns about possible unpaid overtime should consult with an attorney.
Beginning in 2020, the Ohio Wage Act requires employers to pay most workers at least $8.70/hour for each hour an employee works. Tipped employees such as wait staff, bartenders and dog walkers can be paid $4.35/hour, but their average hourly pay must still total at least $8.70. Every Ohio resident who earns the minimum wage is assumed to be eligible for overtime, even those who take tips.
Employers engage in many illegal and deceptive practices to deny employees the minimum wage and overtime pay. Barkan Meizlish, LLP, are available to assist workers who fall victim to any of the following problems.
In order to avoid minimum wage and overtime laws, unscrupulous employers often miscategorize full-time and part-time employees as independent contractors. The federal government and the State of Ohio enforce rules that determine which workers must be paid at least minimum wage and overtime as employees. At their most basic level, those rules treat a person as an employee if he or she reports regularly to a single worksite, works under the direct supervision of a manager employed by the same organization, and depends on the organization for the equipment and resources needed to complete tasks.
Misclassification occurs when an employer treats an overtime-eligible worker as ineligible for overtime. The legal terms are “exempt” and “nonexempt,” with earning a high salary, supervising co-workers, and/or performing professional duties as evidence of exempt status. Employers sometimes misreport earnings and give a person a professional-sounding job title in order to unlawfully deny earned overtime pay.
Employers cannot require overtime-eligible or hourly employees to do uncompensated work. This means that managers cannot insist that tasks be completed before an employee clocks in or after an employee clocks out. It also means that mandatory unpaid overtime, clocking employees out without their knowledge, and withholding overtime pay as a punishment are illegal.
Employers are allowed to make certain deductions from workers’ wages for uniforms, special equipment, and employee-caused losses such as money drawer shortages and damage to company property. However, deducting wages for work performed as a punishment for a policy violation is not allowed. Nor can an employer deduct so much from an employee’s pay that the worker ends up earning less than the minimum wage.
Rules put in place to ensure employees get paid for each hour they work require employers to record work time in 15-minute increments. Periods of 1-7 minutes can be rounded down to the previous quarter-hour; periods of 8-14 minutes must be rounded up. Some employers cheat workers by always rounding down. Other employers refuse to record workers’ time in increments shorter than half hours or full hours.
Employees cannot be required to work during unpaid breaks. Also, employers cannot require workers to clock out for breaks that are shorter than 20 minutes. What this means in practical terms is that workers cannot have their pay docked for taking bathroom or other short breaks.
Traveling for work—but not commuting to work daily—is what the law and lawyers call “compensable.” The time spent driving to call on clients must be paid time. So must the day spent flying from headquarters to a business meeting. Overtime accrues while traveling for work, as well.
Laws like the FLSA require employers to keep accurate, detailed, and reviewable records of hours worked and wages paid. A worker cannot be held responsible for keeping track of wage and hour details. Employers who misreport worktime and pay cheat workers even when the errors are not made intentionally.
Employees have legal rights to demand fair wages and earned overtime. The laws and regulations that enforce these employee rights, however, also impose tight statutes of limitations. As soon as you notice that your employer is engaging in illegal pay practices, contact the experienced wage and hour attorneys at Barkan Meizlish, LLP.
In addition to explaining your legal options, our Ohio employee rights lawyers can help you identify and obtain essential evidence. Our lawyers may also be able to identify other workers the employer has underpaid and exploited and form a group of plaintiffs that has more influence than one individual.
Our wage and hour attorneys understand that when it comes to wage theft, it can feel like an impossible task to go up against your employer. With the cost of attorney fees often outweighing the lost wages in question, many affected by wage theft choose not to pursue legal action. Fortunately, 29 U.S.C.sec 216(b) sets guidelines for fee-shifting. This practice gives employees who successfully bring claims of FLSA violations against their employers the opportunity to have the cost of their attorney’s fees shifted and become their employer’s responsibility. This means that your employer pays your attorney and not you.
If you have been the victim of wage theft, the wage and hour attorneys at Barkan Meizlish, LLP, can help. We work with you to determine the validity of your case and fight tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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