Sommers Schwartz is a powerhouse litigation firm that has recovered more than one billion dollars for our clients. When your future is on the line, our team will fight for you.

Clients say it best

I want to thank you again for what you have done for my family...

Attorney
Referrals

Year after year, we deliver unmatched results.

Careers

We are always looking for people who will add to our continuing success.

Unpaid Wage and Overtime Attorneys

You work hard, and you deserve to be paid honestly for the time you put in. But employers sometimes try to wrongfully deny employees their rightfully earned compensation. It is called wage theft – and it is illegal. When unscrupulous employers rob workers of wages and overtime, they threaten the livelihoods of employees and their families.

The experienced attorneys at Sommers Schwartz are well-versed in employment law. We know the ways employers violate federal and state laws to avoid paying their employees. Our lawyers are well-respected by peers and clients alike, and our team is dedicated to protecting the rights of workers in Michigan and across the United States.

The law gives you the right to receive fair wages for your work. If an employer has unlawfully withheld your compensation, the attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Wage and Hour Litigation Group are ready to help.

The Fair Labor Standards Act

State and federal laws establish minimum wage and overtime guidelines. At the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), enacted in 1938, established the right to a minimum hourly and overtime wages for all “non-exempt” workers and also instituted child labor protections and payroll recordkeeping requirements.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but states may set their own minimum wage requirements, as long as they exceed the federal amount. In Michigan, the Workforce Opportunity Wage Act set the minimum wage at $9.65 per hour beginning on January 1, 2020.

The FLSA and state labor laws also entitle non-exempt workers to overtime pay of at least one-and-one-half times their standard hourly rate when they work more than 40 hours per workweek. A workweek is any regularly occurring and fixed period of 168 hours, or seven consecutive 24-hour periods.

The FLSA also expressly prohibits an employer from taking any sort of retaliatory action against an employee seeking to enforce their rights under the Act. If an employer retaliates against an employee for exercising their FLSA rights, the employer will be responsible for paying all of the employee’s lost wages, costs, and attorney fees.

Wage and Hour Violations

There are common methods employers may use to pay employees less than what they are owed. These include:

  • Paying less than the minimum wage
  • Paying workers for fewer than the total number of hours worked
  • Failing to compensate workers for overtime hours at one- and one-half times their regular hourly rate
  • Failing to include commissions, non-discretionary bonuses, and other incentive pay in the calculation of the employee’s overtime rate
  • Misclassifying employees as exempt or independent contractors
  • Requiring employees to work “off the clock” without pay
  • Making employees set up or prepare for work, dress in required gear and equipment, or clean up without pay
  • Interrupting or cutting short meal and rest breaks to force employees to work
  • Keeping inaccurate pay records
  • Withholding pay as punishment or for poor performance
  • Taking improper deductions from employee pay
  • Wrongly charging employees for mandatory uniforms and equipment, store losses, and register shortages
  • Withholding tips from workers
  • Forcing tipped workers to share tips with other employees who do not typically receive tips
  • Other industry-specific abuses and suspect business practices

If an employer violated wage or hour laws and failed to pay your due wages, you may be entitled to compensation and other damages.

Tipped Workers and Other Exceptions to Wage and Hour Laws

Servers and other workers who rely on tips for income are subject to special wage and overtime provisions. They must still be paid the lawful minimum wage, but employers may apply a “tip credit” to offset their minimum wage obligations. This allows an employer to pay a lower hourly rate if the employee’s tips make up the difference between the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 and $3.67 in Michigan, quite a bit less than the regular rates of $7.25 per hour and $9.65 respectively, which makes tipped workers reliance on customers’ gratuities.

Teenage workers are also at risk for wage abuse. The law allows young people between the ages of 16-17 to be paid 85 percent of the minimum wage. They also can be paid a training wage of $4.25 for the first 90 days of employment. Some employers, however, cheat teenage employees by paying them less than the reduced rate.

Other groups who can legally be paid less than minimum wage include learners, apprentices, and individuals who cannot meet standard production speeds or outputs due to disabilities or other circumstances. Even if some groups are subject to other wage guidelines, it does not make them immune to wage and overtime violations – they may even be more susceptible to wage theft.

Industries Frequently Affected by Wage and Hour Violations

Although anyone can be a victim of wage theft or an unlawful denial of overtime pay, workers in some industries are more vulnerable than others. These include:

  • Nurses and healthcare aides
  • Pizza and food delivery drivers
  • Food processing workers
  • Roadside assistance technicians
  • Call center agents and representatives
  • Sales representatives
  • Restaurant and hotel servers and bartenders
  • Oil and gas field workers
  • Retail employees
  • Disaster relief workers
  • Couriers
  • Drivers of small vehicles (weighing less than 10,000 lbs.)
  • IT workers
  • Service technicians
  • Exotic dancers
  • Installers

Class Action Wage Lawsuits

Often, an employer engages in an unlawful pay practice that violates the rights of several employees. When many similarly situated workers are mistreated in the same way, pursuing their rights in a class action or collective action is appropriate.

Class actions are especially useful for bringing litigation on behalf of employees wronged by large and powerful companies. Those companies frequently have a team of lawyers defending them from wage and hour claims, and an individual lawsuit by a single worker could drag on for years and at great expense. In class actions, all of the plaintiffs are represented by the same lawyers, making it not only economical but also often resulting in a speedier resolution.

Successfully coordinating a class action lawsuit requires a firm with a knowledgeable team, specialized skills, and extensive resources. Sommers Schwartz is that firm. Our attorneys have fought and won wage and overtime cases of all sizes, including lawsuits involving tens of thousands of plaintiffs.

Contact an Accomplished Wage and Overtime Attorney

An experienced wage and overtime attorney will help you navigate the complicated process of pursuing legal action against your employer. They will make sure your rights are preserved and will protect you from retaliation.

The lawyers at Sommers Schwartz hold employers accountable for violating the rights of their workers. To speak with a Sommers Schwartz attorney about your case and determine the best move forward, call 866.614.4247 for a free consultation.

A Trusted Authority

Our attorneys have been featured on local and national media outlets, including:

sommers-media-compressor

I will confidently recommend Sommers Schwartz.

You were on a short list of attorney’s I considered to represent me in this matter based on your standing in the legal community and I have no doubt that your reputation brought this matter to a resolution more expeditiously than a less highly regarded attorney would have been able to accomplish.

Your firm has tremendous skill and ethics.

Over the years I have referred cases to your firm in general and to Norm specifically knowing that the client would be handled with care and competence. I have always found that to be the case.

Mr. Watkins is extremely competent and professional.

Mr. Watkins is extremely competent and professional. I would recommend him in a heartbeat!

I’m so appreciative.

You and your team handled everything so professionally and have been so personable and compassionate. In particular, your paralegal was wonderful to me, showed me and others such empathy, and made everything so smooth. I will be happy to recommend your firm to anyone who needs legal help.

Your ability, understanding, and compassion are truly remarkable.

Your ability, understanding, compassion and at time dispassionate way of speaking for those who no longer can speak for themselves are truly remarkable.

I want to thank you for your excellent representation.

As unpleasant as the matter was, I truly enjoyed working with you and felt very well represented throughout. If I should be aware of someone in need of employment law advice, I will be certain to recommend you.

Kenneth Watkins is very knowledgeable.

Being a healthcare professor myself, I was impressed to know that he was so well read and knew the medical jargon (terminology) when evaluating individual cases. I found him to be very professional, credible, and personable.

You went above and beyond expectations.

Our business is very complex with the different manufacturers we deal with and the rebate programs associated with them, and we feel the time, effort and your timeliness in understanding the different aspects of our case helped us with a reasonable resolution.

You are a phenomenal attorney.

You are a phenomenal attorney. I wanted to thank you for doing such a great job regarding this case. I have a new love for law and all that it includes. Thank you for one of the best experiences of my life.

Our Clients Say It Best

googlereviews
40 5-star reviews on Google