To gain a better understanding of the remedies that are available for wage and hour claims, it is important to know what laws are involved in wage and hour claims. It is also necessary to know exactly what a wage and hour claim is first.
For starters, wage and hour laws control the basic standards for minimum wage and overtime payments in the workplace. The main law that governs employees’ wages and hours is called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA covers employment law issues such as minimum wage rates, overtime payments, and child labor protections.
In addition, the FLSA also requires employers to keep accurate records of certain details relating to their business. These may include personal information about their employees, the total daily or weekly earnings, and the total amount of wages rendered for each pay period.
Along with the FLSA, each state may have its own laws relating to wage and hour requirements. If an employer fails to perform any of these requirements, then it could result in a violation of both state and federal laws, which can have many legal consequences.
One of those legal consequences occurs when an employee files a lawsuit against their employer due to the employer’s violation of wage and hour law requirements, that may have caused the employee financial harm.
Wage and hour claims, also known as wage and salary claims, are one of the most common types of lawsuits filed in an employment law context. They involve disputes concerning either the amount of wages that an employee has earned, or the number of hours that an employee has worked.
In general, many of these cases focus on very specific issues, such as:
- Discrepancies in overall pay rates or salary rates;
- Violations of state or federal minimum wage rates;
- Incorrect calculations for overtime wage payments;
- Not receiving payment for mandatory employee training sessions;
- Offers for compensatory time (e.g., giving an employee time off in the future, as opposed to paying them for their overtime);
- Disputes over terms in an employment contract; and
- Issues regarding the number of hours that an employee is required or permitted to work.
For instance, one scenario that frequently occurs is when an employer fails to pay a worker their overtime wages, even though that worker is entitled to such pay. Since these kinds of disputes often involve claims for unpaid wages, they usually require some form of monetary remedy (e.g., back pay).
As such, it is a good idea to speak with a lawyer about wage and hour claims. Not only can a lawyer help you to navigate your case, but they also can discuss what your best available options are for remedies, which you can then request as part of your claim.
Most wage and hour claims result in a monetary damages award that is issued by the employer to the claimant. This award can help the employee (claimant) to recover costs that were lost due to the employer’s actions or inaction.
In general, damage awards cover the unpaid wages, plus other potential losses that might be related to the employee’s claim, such as loss of profits on a deal.
Additionally, other remedies might include:
- Requiring that the employer change their payment and hour policies, so that they conform with both state and federal laws;
- Investigating the company’s overall record-keeping practices;
- Firing a particular supervisor or manager; and
- Reinstating the worker back to their previous position (this only occurs when the employee was also terminated in connection with the dispute).
Wage and hour disputes often involve reviewing many different employee documents and statements. These documents and items generally might include:
- Pay stubs;
- Work logs (e.g., showing when an employee clocks in and out of work, etc.);
- Tax paperwork;
- Independent contractor agreements; and
- Various other documents that can be used to prove the employee’s necessary wage amounts and the actual number of hours that they worked.
In addition, witness testimony may also be provided as evidence. For example, an employee’s coworkers can give statements about their own payment situations.
Wage and hour claims often involve some fairly complex legal issues. If you think you need representation for a wage and hour dispute, you may want to consider hiring a local employment law attorney.
A local employment law attorney can provide information about the laws in your state, how they relate to your specific claim, and also discuss what rights you have in regard to your wages as an employee.
Additionally, should you need to appear in court for some reason, or file an investigation with a state agency, an employment law attorney can assist you with those particular matters as well.