The next time you stop at a gas station, have your oil changed, or take your car to an automobile dealership for service, consider the person waiting on you – he or she may be losing out on hard-earned wages and overtime pay. Reports have surfaced that their employers are withholding compensation and cheating hourly workers out of the money to which they are entitled under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
People employed as sales people, service technicians, lube technicians, body shop and auto repair workers, attendants, cashiers, and in other roles risk being victims of wage theft, which can take many forms:
- Requiring hourly employees to perform job-related tasks before punching in or after punching out (know as “off the clock” work);
- Failing to pay minimum wage;
- Paying employees in cash to avoid paying minimum wage;
- Failing to pay workers for meal breaks and rest periods;
- Failing to compensative workers for the time and expense of laundering work uniforms;
- Failing to compensate workers for other job-related expenses;
- Failing to maintain accurate time records;
- Requiring employees to split time between businesses owned and operated by the same employer, but making job schedules and paychecks appear as though they worked for separate employers in order to avoid overtime pay;
- Misclassifying employees as independent contractors to avoid FLSA overtime mandates.
The lost income can be significant, particularly when unpaid time pushes an employee’s workweek beyond forty hours, overtime that should be compensated at 150% of his or her normal pay rate.
Make no mistake – the threat to these workers is real, as recent lawsuits, news stories, and industry alerts demonstrate, and many of those cheated have pursued their rights in class action litigation.
If you work in an hourly position for a gas station, quick oil change shop, auto repair business, or auto dealership and suspect that your employer has withheld wages and overtime, please contact the attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Employment Litigation Group today to learn how we can assist you in pursuing and protecting your right to fair compensation.