Employees work hard for a living. They expect and deserve to be paid what
their employers owe them. Unfortunately, employers sometimes cheat employees
out of their wages by not paying them for all the hours they worked, by
paying them late, or by not paying for overtime worked. Some employers
refuse to pay their employees in accordance with their employment contracts,
commission sales agreements, or bonus policies.
State and federal wage laws provide specific criteria for determining whether
a particular job should be exempt from overtime, or whether an employee
is "nonexempt" and should be paid overtime at a rate of one
and a half their usual rate for time he or she works in excess of forty
hours in a work week. Some employers try to avoid paying necessary overtime
wages by calling their workers "independent contractors" when
they are actually employees. Determining whether a particular job is exempt
and whether a person fits the criteria of independent contractor or an
employee requires an evaluation of the specific facts of each case.
There are numerous state and federal laws that govern employee pay and
overtime. Employees' concerns with these matters are protected under
the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Washington Wage Payment Act, and the
Washington Minimum Wage act.
Employers sometimes misclassify employees as exempt from the minimum wage
and overtime laws to avoid paying what the workers are due. In other cases
employers don't pay employees for all of their work. This frequently
happens at the beginning or the end of the day. An employee who does work
for the employer at home must be paid for that work just as if the employee
were at the job site.
The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining and Notification (WARN) Act
requires employers in some situations to provide employees 60 days'
notice of a mass lay-off or plant closure. If the employer fails to do
so, it may have to pay the employees up to 60 days' wages.
In the state of Washington, employers are required to provide at least
a 10-minute break for every 4 hours that an employee works. If an employee
works more than 5 hours, employers must provide at least a 30-minute unpaid
meal break. If an employer has failed to provide legally required rest
breaks or meal breaks, the employees may be entitled to monetary compensation.
Where the employer's unlawful wage practices impact a large number
of employees, it makes sense to pursue the rights of all affected employees
through a collective or class action. A class or collective action allows
employees to pool their resources and work together to enforce their rights.
Frank Freed Subit & Thomas has decades of experience representing employees
in wage and hour disputes, both individual cases and collective/class
actions. Many years ago our firm brought one of the first wage and hour
class actions under Washington state law. We have handled numerous overtime
cases, misclassification cases, "off the clock" unpaid wage
cases, rest break cases, and meal break cases.
While we can't guarantee a positive outcome, our results in wage and
hour cases speak for themselves. In 2010 we obtained a $2.25 million settlement
for drivers who were not paid for all of their work time. We obtained,
along with Columbia Legal Services, a $315,000 settlement on behalf of
agricultural workers denied their wages. Our firm achieved a $300,000
settlement for a group of employees who were denied meal and rest breaks
and a $235,000 settlement for workers laid off without proper WARN notice.
Frank Freed Subit & Thomas has received other confidential six and
seven-figure settlements in numerous wage and hour cases. If you have
questions about the validity of your case, do not hesitate to
contact Frank Freed Subit & Thomas today.