Fair Labor Standards Act (Wage and Hour Issues)

Federal and Ohio Wage and Hour Attorneys

Often times employees accept wages simply because they assume the employer knows what they should be paid and has the employees’ best interests at heart.  However, there are many examples, many of which go unnoticed, when an employee is frequently not paid properly due to a variety of factors.  As Ohio wage and hour attorneys, we make sure that employees who are entitled to minimum wages and overtime wages are paid under both Federal and Ohio law.  If you believe you are not getting paid properly, whether it be minimum wages or overtime wages, call us today to discuss your legal issue.  An overview of typical wage and hour issues is below.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), codified as 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and federal, state, and local governments. There are two main components that protect employees’ wages:  (1) Overtime wages; and (2) Minimum Wages.

  • Overtime Wages
    • under the FLSA (and Ohio law), everyone is entitled to overtime pay (time and a half for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek) unless they are specifically exempted under the law. In the event you are compensated on a salary basis, you may still be entitled to overtime wages if you work over 40 hours in a workweek and your primary job duties consist of non-exempt work. For more information on whether you have been misclassified, click here.
  • Minimum Wages
    • all covered nonexempt employees must be paid not less than the current federal minimum wage for all hours worked.

The FLSA also prohibits retaliation against an employee by the employer.  Section 15(a)(3) of the FLSA states that it is a violation for any person to “discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this Act, or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding, or has served or is about to serve on an industry committee.” 

Importantly, employees are protected regardless of whether the complaint is made orally or in writing. Complaints made to the Wage and Hour Division are protected, and most courts have ruled that internal complaints to an employer are also protected.

In the context of unpaid overtime, FLSA overtime claims typically involve the following:

  • Misclassification of “Exempt” Employee.  Employers mistakenly treating/classifying employees as “exempt” from the FLSA overtime requirements when they are really nonexempt and, thus, entitled to overtime.  Employers also often make improper classifications of independent contractors even though the individual is likely an employee.
    • Employers cannot unilaterally tell you that your status is exempt or nonexempt.  This status is based upon your job duties.
  • “Off-the-Clock” Hours.  Employers failing to identify, record, or compensate “off-the-clock” hours spent by employees performing compensable, job-related activities,
    • Examples:
      • taking work home, making/receiving job-related calls at home, working before or after regular shifts, taking care of work-related equipment, and job-related “volunteer” work.
  • Improper Deductions.
    • Meal periods, for example, need not be counted as work if they are at least 30 minutes long and the employee is relieved from active duties during the meal period.  However, an employee who “works through lunch” is working and that time must be paid to the employee.  Thus, if you have a deduction from your pay for a “meal period” even though you still performed your duties, you will likely be owed overtime wages.
  • Tipped Employees
    • employees who rely on tips for the majority of their wages are commonly victims of wage theft and improper deductions, among other examples.
  • Late Payment of Wages.
    • Under the FLSA, wages must be paid “when due,” which normally means at the next regularly scheduled pay day.  “Late pay” is generally the same as “no pay” under the FLSA.
    • Ohio’s Prompt Pay Act also requires that employers pay their employees within 30 days of the regularly scheduled pay period.
  • Substituting Cash for Compensatory Time.
    • Private employers seek to avoid overtime by granting employees “compensatory time” in lieu of cash for overtime hours worked or “averaging hours” from work period to work period. In the private sector, this practice violates the FLSA.

In the event you have questions about your minimum wages, unpaid overtime wages, your job duties, whether you have been misclassified, improper deductions, wage theft, or any other issue arising out of your wages, please contact an contact a Columbus or Toledo Ohio unpaid wages and unpaid overtime attorney at Bryant Legal, LLC to discuss whether you are entitled to unpaid wages.

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