Wage and Hour Laws in Missouri
If you are not being paid the correct amount for ALL time worked, our wage and hour lawyers are standing by for an immediate free wage and hour case evaluation. Call (314) 409-7060.
In today’s declining economic environment, employers expect more for less from us all. This often translates into illegal employment law practices such as unpaid overtime, comp time, and other illegal wage law violations. According to Business Insider, in 1950 the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ration has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one. Recent employment law cases are revealing the unethical practices which make this possible. Our wage and hour lawyers fight to ensure employees receive proper payment for every single hour worked.
What is a Wage and Hour Claim?
Wage and hour claims are employment lawsuits that focus on the illegal and unethical employment practices of corporations when compensating their employees. The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (29 U.S.C.A. § 201 et seq.) establishes mandatory federal guidelines employers must follow when dictating employee working hours and rate of pay. Additionally, salaried employees and hourly employees are both able to make a wage an hour claim if forced to work without proper pay. Wage and hour lawyers focus on recovering past wages for any employee who is forced to work without proper pay.
Examples of Wage and Hour Claims
Some common examples of employment practices that violate the FLSA are as follows:
- Unpaid or Underpaid Overtime – What is overtime? Under the FLSA an employee is entitled to make an hourly wage of 1.5 times (time and a half) his or her normally hourly wage for every hour worked over 40 hours in a 7 day period. If you have been forced to work in excess of 40 hours in a 7 day period and have only received your normal hourly wage, you may be entitled to back pay for those unpaid wages.
- Minimum Wage Violations – What is minimum wage? The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Employers may not attempt to charge employees for anything which brings their hourly wage under $7.25 per hour. Some employers will take steps such as telling employees they are responsible for customers who walk out on their checks, or requiring employees to pay for miscellaneous expenses which should be paid by the employer.
- Unpaid Meals and/or Rest Breaks When They Were Never Actually Taken – Employers often require employees to work through lunches and/or breaks and later count that time as unpaid. If your employer either mandates you work through lunches and brakes or is aware that you are working through them, the employee is entitled to be paid for their time.
- Turning a Blind Eye – Employers will often provide an unreasonable deadline for the completion of a task while also requiring you clock out at the end of a normal shift. They require work to be finished while turning a blind eye to the reasonable number of hours it takes to complete the project, forcing the employee to work unpaid overtime.
- Work Travel – Some employers will attempt to count work related travel time as unpaid while the employee is traveling. An employee is entitled to be compensated for time spent traveling for work.
- Compensatory Time (Comp Time) – Employers will illegally offer their employees compensatory time – an hour off at some future time for every hour worked now – instead of paying the employee overtime pay.
- Unpaid Training, Meetings, and Lectures – Employees are entitled to be paid for time spent in company training, meetings, and lectures.
- Unpaid Preliminary and Postliminary Activities – on 9/26/2011, a jury awarded workers from multiple Tyson Foods, Inc., meat processing facilities reimbursement for uncompensated duties performed before and after their shifts, such as putting on boots, aprons, gloves, whites, ear plugs, and hair nets. Tyson required workers to perform these duties prior to clocking in and beginning their shift. If an employee has to work before or after their shift, they are entitled to be paid for it.
- Improper Calculation of Overtime Pay – Employers have also been found to improperly calculate over time pay. Simply put, if the calculation is off by a dollar, quarter, nickel or otherwise, it is a clear violation of Federal Law. Employers are able to save millions of dollars each year through unsuspecting employees who have not taken the time to check their employer’s overtime calculation, simply thinking it must be close enough.
The above list is by no means an exhaustive list of all the different wage and hour claims. As employers become more and more elaborate in their attempts to save a nickel, employees must stay alert. It is our experience that many workers are unfamiliar with the mandates of the Fair Labor Standards Act and are unaware that they are not receiving full pay for the time worked. In numerous other instances employees are blatantly aware of what is occurring but fear losing their job if they ‘step out of line’ and challenge the system keeps them from making a claim.
The Missouri Department of Labor’s website offers additional information on wage, hour and dismissal rights for Missouri workers.
Can my Employer Fire me for Making a Wage and Hour Claim?
No! The Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision on March 22, 2011, which protects workers who bring forward employer violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Supreme Court explained that the anti-retaliation provision seeks to eliminate “labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency, and general well-being of workers.” 29 U.S.C. §202(a).
Wage and Hour Remedies Explained
If you or a loved one feel that your employer has violated the law in paying you, you may be entitled to compensation. Under the FSLA, employees can file a private lawsuit against their employer regarding unpaid overtime or other wage violations. These cases are typically collective action cases, which represent a group of employees whose rightful payment or overtime payment rights have been violated. Employer violations of overtime wages and minimum wage requirements often bring about substantial paydays for affected employees. FLSA lawsuits normally seek recovery for unpaid or underpaid back wages plus liquidated or double damages and even attorneys’ fees. Thus, under the liquidated damages provision, wages that were not paid are usually doubled to compensate the employee. Also, employees are entitled to recover both their attorney’s costs and fees, which requires the employer to pay for the employee’s legal counsel.
Contact a Wage and Hour Lawyer
If you are being forced to work without receiving proper compensation, a wage and hour attorney will assist in helping you recover what you are owed. Wage and hour lawsuits require a detailed analysis of all factors surrounding the employment situation. In addition, a failure to bring your wage and hour claim in the applicable statue of limitations period may forever prevent you from recovering from your unpaid time.
Our wage and hour lawyers will fight to ensure you receive an honest wage for an honest days work. Call wage employment lawyer Chris Dixon today toll-free at (314) 409-7060 or toll free at (855) 402-2747 to discuss your right to reimbursement.