In an unfortunate ruling from SCOTUS, the Supreme Court enabled employers to get away with wage theft with little effect. The issue before the Court was whether employers could force employees to waive their rights to proceed as a collective or class when they were seeking relief under federal and state laws.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) provides the minimum requirements for compensating non-exempt employees under federal law. Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees are entitled to be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked, as well as overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek. The FLSA provides a mechanism for employees to represent similarly situated employees who suffer from the same unlawful pay practice. Representative employees must meet their burden to show they are similarly situated to other employees and then they are generally permitted to contact the putative collective members through a Court-supervised process. The putative collective members are welcome to join the case and receive compensation for also not being paid the minimum wages or overtime required under the FLSA.
Employers, who wish to violate the law and suffer as little consequence for doing so as possible, often require employees to sign agreements to arbitrate their disputes. Within the employer-mandated arbitration agreements (often required as a condition of employment), employees are sometimes required to proceed with their disputes in arbitration, but oftentimes, they are also asked to waive their rights to proceed as a collective and class action. When employers do not pay employees properly, the unlawful pay practice is not generally limited to any one employee; rather, the pay practices are used for all employees.
By allowing employers to require employees to sign arbitration agreements that force employees into arbitration and which arbitration agreements also include collective and class action waivers, the Supreme Court has made it much cheaper and more economic for employers to commit wage theft and steal from their hardworking employees. Employers can now violate the FLSA and state laws by paying less than the minimum wages and overtime required and then only have to answer for such unlawful actions on an individual basis. They can steal from their employees without concern that they may have to answer to all the employees. Instead, employers can commit wage theft knowing that they will have to only answer to one employee.
We are here to help you with any issues related to your compensation on an individual or collective (group) basis. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to unpaid wages (or overtime), an additional amount equal to the unpaid wages for liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees or other costs. Please feel free to contact our office today to speak with a Columbus Ohio Overtime Lawyer about overtime, wages, or any other questions you have about your pay. You may contact our office for a FREE consultation with a Columbus Ohio Wage and Hour Lawyer by filling out the information on our contact page or calling 1-614-949-1181.