The U.S. Department of Labor is targeting employers who violate wage and hour laws in spite of a recent ruling in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Recently, the federal Department of Labor has filed several class action suits against employers who require or permit employees to work “off the clock”. Permitting employees to work while on unpaid meal breaks or permitting employees to do something unpaid after hours and on weekends is all included in violations.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) permits the government to file collective actions on behalf of a group of employees in a similar situation. Generally, employers are liable for two years of back bay and three years in the case of willful violations. The 9th Circuit Court of appeals rules that an employee can join a collective action only if he or she files written consent with the court at the time the action is brought.
Under the FLSA and various state minimum wage laws, all the time employee works must get paid, including time the employee “voluntarily” works, in excess of his or her scheduled shifts. The FLSA also requires employees to be paid overtime, usually after working 40 hours in the payroll week. If the employee volunteers to work overtime, he or she must be compensated at a rate of 1.5 times the employee’s average wage.