A former Department of Labor representative told a group at a New York University law symposium that companies across the country are denying their workers overtime pay and in some cases, the minimum wage. According to the New York Labor Department, efforts to investigate wage and hour disputes have increased, especially among non-unionized companies. These entities reportedly have violated wage and hour disputes in industries characterized by exploitation of undocumented workers.
Other violations have also been reported by the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division. In one Florida state correctional facility, a group of former and current correctional officers successfully sued their employer and were awarded over $600,000 in comp time and overtime pay.
The representative for the Department of Labor addressed the New York University symposium on the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the law responsible for establishing minimum wage and other regulations regarding overtime. The department representative said the country-wide violations are approaching an out-of-control status.
In order to expedite the investigations, the Department of Labor is planning on breaking down the probe of the wage and hour violations into geographic locations and focusing on companies that allegedly have become suspects due to patterns in these types of unfair labor practices.
The author of a book recently published on this unfavorable labor practice calls it nothing short of wage theft. She has indicated that these patterns are nearing epidemic proportions in major cities like Los Angeles, New Orleans and New York, in nursing homes, garment factories, poultry plants and restaurants. The Department of Labor claims such wage and hour violations take place 79 percent of the time and suspect that some companies may be involved in other infractions of labor law as well.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of unfair pay or minimum wage practices, it is recommended that you seek advice from an attorney who specializes in overtime or minimum wage violations. Informing yourself about illegal pay practices is the best way to prevent this type of wage theft from happening to you or a loved one.
Source: Workday Minnesota, "Labor Department cites 'epidemic' of wage-and-hour violations" No author given, Jun. 18, 2013