Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) - Wage and Hour

The Fair Labor Standards Act, or "FLSA" is a federal statute, enacted by congress that protects many workers' rights to fair pay. Under the FLSA, covered employees have minimum wage protections as well as rights to receive overtime compensation for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The act was originally passed in 1938, and has protected workers' rights to fair pay for over 70 years.

Currently, the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Typically, overtime protections extend to employees, regardless of how they are paid. Thus, absent some exemption, hourly, commissioned, salaried, and piece rate workers, all have the right to receive overtime compensation. Employers who violate the FLSA may be sued by their employees to recover back wages. Employees may sue on a collective or class basis, and if successful, may receive their back wages for up to three years, plus an equal amount of "liquidated damages," plus attorneys' fees.

Employees have a right to be paid for all hours "suffered or permitted to work." Time preparing for work is often considered "work time." Thus many preparatory activities should be compensated by employers. Many of the most common violations of the FLSA appear in the form of the circumstances described below:

Unpaid Time / Overtime

You are at work 30 hours in a week, but your employer says, since you didn't "work" the whole time, your employer only pays you for 28 hours. If your employer required you to be there, your employer must pay you for that time.

Likewise, you work 43 hours in a week, and you get paid $10.00 per hour for all hours. If your employer did not pay you $15.00 per hour for the three hours of overtime, your employer has likely violated your wage rights.

Working Off the Clock

Your employer asks you to come in and do an inventory on your day off. You perform the inventory, but your employer doesn't pay you for that time. Your employer must pay you for the time you worked.

Your employer clocks you out for a lunch, even though you don't actually take the lunch. If you didn't take the lunch, your employer cannot take away your pay.

In preparation for your shift, you have to change into a uniform and personal protective equipment (PPE). You cannot perform your job duties without this because the employer, or OSHA, or some other entity requires you to be in uniform and wear PPE. Your employer may be in violation of the FLSA if they do not pay you for the time it takes to change into your clothing and PPE.

Working from Home

You decide to work from home, taking and making calls, working on your computer, or performing other activities for your employer. Your employer says that because you didn't clock in at work, you won't be paid for the work time. Your employer must pay you for the time you actually worked.

You just started your job. You are going through training. As part of your training, your employer gives you quizzes or tests during your shift. In order to pass the quizzes or tests, you have to study, but your employer does not give you time during normal work hours to study for the quizzes and tests. You are forced to study during your off hours in order to pass the quizzes or tests. Your employer must pay you for this study time.

On Call Time

Once a week your employer requires you to be "on call." In order to be on call, you have to be able to show up for work within 10 minutes of being called in. When you are "on call" you cannot leave your house, and must be available by phone immediately, or you must check in periodically to determine whether you have to work. Because you are on call, you are prohibited from doing normal activities, such as going to the grocery store, working on your lawn, going to the movies, or going out to dinner. If the time cannot be spent to your benefit in some meaningful way, your employer may need to pay you for the time that you are "on call."

Salaried Employees

Your employer pays you a salary. When you work more than 40 hours in a workweek, your employer tells you that she doesn't have to pay you overtime, because you are salaried. You are either performing manual labor, or you don't use discretion and judgment or supervise employees. In order to be properly exempt from overtime as a salaried employee, you must be performing very specific types of work. First, your work must be office and non-manual work. Secondly, you must either be utilizing discretion and independent judgment on matters of significance, or be supervisory over two or more full time employees. If this does not describe you, your employer may need to pay you overtime if you work over 40 hours in a workweek.

Independent Contractors

Your employer tells you that you are an "independent contractor." Your employer does not make any tax withholdings from your pay, and at the end of the year gives you a 1099 tax form. However, your employer tells you where and when to be somewhere, how to perform your job, and you may not work for anyone else doing the same kind of work. Your employer controls many of the day to day activities you perform. Your employer provides you a work schedule. In addition to violating tax laws, your employer may owe you overtime because you are not actually an independent contractor, but rather an employee.

Commissions and Bonuses

You are not an outside salesperson. In addition to your base pay, you receive commissions. When you work over 40 hours in a workweek, you receive time and a half on your base pay, but no additional amount related to your commissions. Your employer has likely violated the FLSA by not paying you additional overtime compensation related to your commission pay.

In addition to your base pay, you receive periodic bonuses pursuant to some sort of planned bonus program. However, when you work over 40 hours in a workweek during the bonus period, your employer does not pay you for the overtime related to your bonus pay. If the bonus is "nondiscretionary," your employer must pay you for the increased overtime attributable to the bonus you earned. If they don't do so, they have violated the FLSA.

Lunch and Breaks

Your employer does not pay you for breaks under 20 minutes. By law, your employer must pay you for breaks under 20 minutes.

Your employer provides you breaks over 20 minutes. However, most times, you cannot take the full break uninterrupted. You are not completely relieved of your job duties. Your employer should pay you for this time.

Your employer gives employees at least 30 minutes of lunch time. However, during this time, the employee is required to be at their desk, and answer calls, or perform other tasks. The employer does not pay for this time. The employer may have violated the FLSA if you are not completely relieved from your duties during your meal period.

Donning and Doffing / Changing Clothes

You are a union employee. Your employer requires you to maintain your PPE at the facility, and change in and out of your PPE off the clock, prior to your shift. After you change into your PPE, you must walk a significant distance and clock in. You don't get paid until either your shift starts, or you clock in. Your employer may owe you wages for the time that you spend "donning and doffing" and walking to your work area.

Same facts, except you are non-union. Your employer likely owes you for this time.

Learn About Your Rights or Request a Free Consultation with a Kansas City FLSA Attorney

Read more below about each of these FLSA violations and employees' rights to unpaid wages. Or contact Brady & Associates today for a free, confidential consultation with a Kansas City FLSA attorney. Call (913) 696-0925 or complete our online information form.

Commissions and Bonuses

If you are paid on a salary plus commission basis and you are not an outside salesperson, if you work greater than 40 hours in a workweek, you should receive overtime compensation related to both hours worked and commissions. Additionally, you should… Read More

Donning and Doffing / Changing Clothes

Whether you are a union or non-union employee, if your employer requires you to wear special clothing or equipment in order to perform your job, your employer may owe you wages for the time you spend changing into and out of (“donning and doffing… Read More

Gang Time

Gang time is a method by which meat packing employers pay production line employees. Gang time measures the amount of time that meat products are running through a specified station on the production line. Gang time almost always results in the emplo… Read More

Independent Contractors

A true independent contractor is not considered an employee, and therefore is not governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA.) Our lawyers can help you determine your status as an independent contractor or an employee, and then assist you in dete… Read More

Lunch and Breaks

Your employer should pay you for breaks that are under 20 minutes. For breaks that are longer than 20 minutes that may not be taken uninterrupted, the employer should compensate for that time. Similarly, any 30 minute lunch break that requires you to… Read More

On Call Time

If you are spending excessive amounts of time on-call for your employer and are not being compensated for this time, you may have a claim for unpaid wages. Read More

Salaried Employees

Are you paid on salary? Many salaried workers assume that they are not eligible for overtime compensation. Brady & Associates can help you determine if you are eligible for overtime pay based upon your exempt or non-exempt status. You may have a clai… Read More

Unpaid Time / Overtime

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) ensures that covered employees are paid at least $7.25 per hour of minimum wage. Additionally, this act mandates that covered workers receive overtime pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek. These o… Read More

Working from Home

When working from home, the distinction between work and personal life is hard to recognize due to excessive duties that impose on your personal time. Regardless if you are a paid on a salary or hourly basis, if you have worked excessive hours from y… Read More

Working off the Clock

Are you working off the clock? For employees who are expected to work off the clock after putting in a forty-hour work week, our wage and hour attorneys resolve cases involving unpaid overtime claims, unpaid wages, compensation time, unpaid commissio… Read More

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