What is involved in a wage and hour dispute?

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) laws require overtime compensation be paid (at time and one-half) for all “hours worked” over a prescribed “threshold” (typically 40 hours per week), for “nonexempt” employees. FLSA lawsuits typically seek recovery for unpaid or underpaid back wages, plus double damages (called “liquidated damages”) and attorneys’ fees.

The “executive exemption” under the FLSA allows companies to pay store managers a set salary and avoid paying them overtime in the event a store manager works more than forty hours. However, the exemption also mandates that managers must actually do management duties as their “primary duty” as opposed to “manual labor.”

Beasley Allen has recently filed a number of cases on behalf of employees of have been improperly denied rightful payment of overtime benefits at their job. These FLSA cases are typically filed as “collective actions” on behalf of a group of employees.

In addition to the FLSA, many states have their own causes of action that mirror the protections provided under the federal scheme – in some instances the states offer greater protections. We are certainly interested in reviewing any case where an individual is routinely working in excess of 40 hours a week and has little or no discretion in many of their daily activities, or is performing the same type tasks as employees who are paid hourly and is not paid overtime.

We are also interested in reviewing cases where individuals work long hours but end up not receiving compensation for certain hours worked, or make less than the equivalent federal minimum wage for certain hours worked.

Another active area of the FLSA in which we are litigating involves what is known as “donning and doffing.” These cases involve industries where employees are required to put on and take off protective clothing as a prerequisite for doing their job. Many companies do not pay employees for the time spent donning the protective gear and/or doffing the protective gear at the beginning and ending of a shift, or during break periods throughout the workday. Most of the time the protective clothing is not only required, it is often an essential part of the production process that guarantees the quality of the product.

Industries where we typically see donning and doffing cases include:

• chicken processing facilities;
• beef packing facilities;
• other agricultural industries.

We have also seen litigation in industries where the protective clothing is essentially safety gear for hazardous activities.

What can I do?

If you feel you have a claim, our attorneys would like to talk to you. You may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.


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