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Court orders employer to pay millions in wage and hour lawsuit

New York employees may be interested to learn that wage and hour claims have become increasingly more prominent. In many cases, the claims often involve improper classification of workers as independent contractors, meaning they are often ineligible to receive certain benefits. Other violations often include exempt status, improper break periods and improper wage statements.

One such nonexempt lawsuit occurred when a man who was hired to help maintain a shipyard in San Diego claimed that he was not provided with 30-minute lunch breaks as legally mandated. The employee claimed that, prior to being able to take their break, they would have to pass through a checkpoint. With 100 employees in line, this would cause a serious delay, preventing employees from being able to actually use their 30-minute breaks. Further, he claimed that the company required them to purchase clothing without reimbursement and that the wage statements given to him were inaccurate.

The case resulted in a maximum $2.9 million settlement that could be paid out to approximately 1,930 class members. The court ultimately determined that the company was potentially liable for up to $11.5 million, but agreed to a more reasonable figure due to the weaknesses of the case.

If an employee discovers that they are not being paid fairly for the work that they complete, an employment attorney may help the employee seek the wages that they are owed. The attorney may assist with providing evidence that shows that the employer was utilizing unfair pay practices to avoid paying the employee what they are owed. This may include overtime pay if the employer knowingly did not classify the employee correctly in order to avoid paying the full amount that the employee should be making. In most cases, the attorney may negotiate a settlement out of court. If this does not work, the case may go to trial.

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