Defending and settling wage and hour lawsuits can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor for any company. The rise in such filings requires business owners, executives, managers, and supervisors to ensure the employees in their workplace are being compensated fairly and in accordance with the law.
An Increase in Lawsuit Filings
In recent years, the number of lawsuits related to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which establishes the country’s minimum wage and overtime pay rate criteria, have risen sharply. A review of compiled statistics revealed that there were more than 8,800 wage and hour lawsuits filed in 2015, which represents a 358 percent increase over the same type of filings that occurred in 2000.
Some believe the increase is due in part to the Labor Department’s focus on misclassification of independent contractors, efforts to change overtime rules, and promotion of minimum wage increases at local levels. Others believe the Fair Labor Standards Act, which was created in 1938, has not adapted to the country’s more service-based economy, as opposed to the more industrial economy of the 1930s.
Many wage and hour disputes involve the desire to be paid for activities or duties required of their job that were being conducted “off-the-clock.” This type of activity included starting up and shutting down computers, and even putting on protective clothing or required safety gear.
In one key case, a group of workers won a multimillion-dollar judgment in a class action suit that sought compensation for unpaid time spent “donning and doffing” required uniforms. The judgment was upheld on appeal but found its way before the United States Supreme Court, which ruled that a class action could be certified when liabilities and damages were determined by statistical analysis, and when it included hundreds of members that had not been injured, thus having no legal right to the claim.
Costs On the Rise
Settlements for wage and hour lawsuits have soared over the past few years. In 2011, the amount paid to settle class-action lawsuits filed over disputes in the way companies paid their employees totaled just over $200 million. However, in 2016, that amount had increased to more than $600 million.
Work with a Knowledgeable California Wage and Hour Lawsuits Attorney
It is not always reasonable to expect that corporate counsel possesses the experience to provide an adequate defense to every claim filed against a company. Retaining the services of an attorney experienced in wage and hour lawsuits will offer access to the resources necessary when defending against such claims. SAC Attorneys LLP undertakes a thorough review of claims filed against our clients to ensure an appropriately aggressive response is created. We conduct a meticulous review of every case detail to ensure your business is protected throughout the process. Contact a Santa Clara County employment law attorney today at 408-436-0789 to schedule an initial consultation and learn how your business will benefit from our experience.