Articles Posted in Unpaid Overtime

Power Design, an electrical contractor that’s completed more than 1,000 projects nationwide, is facing a lawsuit in the District of Columbia, where officials claim the company illegally misclassified hundreds of workers to lower wages and avoid payroll taxes.

The suit claims that instead of classifying the workers as employees, the St. Petersburg-based company used two labor brokers to classify at least 535 electrical workers as independent contractors. As a result, the workers did not receive overtime, sick pay or, in dozens of cases, even the minimum wage, according to the lawsuit. 

“Power Design cheated hundreds of district workers out of their hard-earned wages and stripped them of their legal rights,” District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine said in an announcement of the suit. “When companies misclassify employees as independent contractors, they steal from their workers and gain an unfair advantage over competitors that follow the law.”

The District of Columbia’s Workplace Fraud Act requires construction companies to classify workers in most circumstances as employees who are paid at least a minimum wage, overtime and other benefits, officials said.

To classify a worker as an independent contractor, a construction company has to prove that the worker does the job independently, is typically self-employed and does work that falls outside the core business of the company.

Independent contractors must pay all their own taxes, are not protected by most labor laws and do not have access to workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance.

Racine’s office also sued JVA Services and DDK Electric, contending that the Maryland-based companies acted as labor brokers to help Power Design cut costs and avoid its legal responsibilities. Their primary business, officials said, involved supplying Power Design with an average of 30 to 40 workers, but in one case as many as 90, for its projects.

Officials said that from 2014 to 2017 Power Design worked at least 10 large construction projects in the District of Columbia, among them the edgy LINE hotel and several luxury apartment complexes. 

According to the lawsuit, the company:

  • Never listed the workers in question as employees on Power Design’s payroll.
  • Paid less than the district’s minimum wage of $10.50 per hour to 24 workers in early 2016 and less than the minimum of $11.50 per hour to 39 workers after it rose in the middle of that year.
  • Did not pay at least 180 workers overtime to which employees are entitled in 2017.
  • Did not provide any misclassified employees with sick leave.
  • Did not pay unemployment insurance tax for any of the misclassified workers.
  • Cut costs to the point that it could submit low bids that won contracts away from competitors who complied with the law.

The Attorney General’s Office said it is seeking to recoup tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid minimum wages and overtime for workers, tens of thousands of dollars more in unpaid unemployment insurance taxes.

It also is seeking penalties from $1,000 to $5,000 for each misclassified worker and each failure to keep payroll records, which officials said could add up to millions of dollars in penalties.

In April, Power Design was ranked No. 2 among large companies in the Times’ annual Top Workplaces survey.

In response to the survey, Power Design said it had 526 employees, more than 130 active projects, a 70,000-square-foot national headquarters facility in St. Petersburg’s Gateway area and accumulative revenue exceeding $1 billion. The company also made the Top Workplaces list from 2013 to 2017.

Just because your employer has classified you a certain way or given you a certain job title does not mean that you are classified correctly as far as the state and federal governments are concerned. In order to qualify for the protection of federal (FLSA) or state labor law, an individual must be classified as an “employee.” Companies will often classify workers as “independent contractors” so they can avoid federal requirements to pay overtime and federal minimum wage.

Many businesses prefer to have their work performed by independent contractors rather than employees in order to avoid employment taxes and employee benefit costs. Employees are entitled to benefits and legal protections that independent contractors are not.

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Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Flipper’s Pizza T. & B. Inc. – operating 11 Central Florida Flippers Pizzeria restaurants – has paid $27,425 in back wages to 70 employees for violating the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

The employer also paid $1,810 in civil money penalties for a child labor violation.

WHD investigators found the employer paid overtime-eligible assistant managers flat weekly salaries, without regard to the number of hours that they actually worked. This practice resulted in overtime violations when those employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek but were not paid overtime in addition to those salaries. 

Additional overtime violations resulted when the employer calculated overtime for tipped employees incorrectly, basing those rates on servers’ cash rates only. The law requires employers to pay tipped workers overtime at time-and-one-half of at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. WHD also found the employer employed a 17-year-old minor to operate a motor vehicle to make deliveries, a violation of FLSA child labor requirements. The employer also failed to maintain accurate payroll records.

“Businesses employing minors have a special responsibility to ensure the safety of these workers by not having them perform any duties deemed hazardous,” said Wage and Hour District Director Daniel White, in Jacksonville, Florida. “The Wage and Hour Division staffs local offices and provides online resources to assist employers in complying with the law. We encourage all employers to take advantage of these free compliance assistance resources, and to reach out to us with any questions.”

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Florida Law, any employee who works more than 40 hours in a workweek is entitled to compensation for the excess hours, either by:

  • Allowing or requiring the employee to take compensatory time off at the rate of 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime (government employees only) or
  • Receiving pay for overtime at the rate of 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay.

Our Orlando Unpaid Wage & Overtime Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have seen employers cheat their employees out of overtime pay using some pretty slick techniques. While these complex and difficult-to-prove methods might be hard to spot, there are three major ways in which employers violate overtime laws:

  1. An employer may fail to pay overtime wages at the rate required by Florida law.
  2. An employer may misclassify an employee as exempt (also known as salaried) and not pay overtime when the employee should be properly classified as non-exempt and eligible for overtime pay.
  3. An employer may demand or allow an employee to work “off the clock” without pay, when the employer should actually be paying overtime wages.

If your employer has tried any of these methods on you, or you believe they might be doing something else to short you on overtime pay, our Orlando Unpaid Overtime Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help. We want to expose their unlawful behavior and make sure you are paid what is owed to you. 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which enforces federal wage laws, lists these as top wage-theft industries:

  • Nursing
  • Casinos
  • Homecare
  • Nannies or Childcare
  • Restaurants
  • IT Workers
  • Construction
  • Retail
  • Oil and Gas Field Services
  • Security Guard Services
  • Call Centers

It doesn’t matter where you work or what you do. If you think your employer is cheating you out of your overtime pay or engaging in other wage theft, let us review your case. 

If you regularly work more than 40 hours per week without getting any overtime pay, your employer owes you a large sum of money. You are legally entitled to collect all unpaid overtime from your employer. Our Florida Employment Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know how to help you recover the money that rightfully belongs to you. Let us evaluate your situation and determine what course of legal action is best. While it may seem like an insurmountable task to make an FLSA complaint about your employer, it is important to remember that employers cannot retaliate against you for exposing FLSA violations.

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A Panama City Beach resort and restaurant group has been ordered to pay $60,000 in back wages and fines after federal investigators determined that they cheated their employees.

After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), By The Sea Resorts Inc. – based in Panama City Beach, Florida – will pay $38,513 in back wages to 78 guest workers for violating overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and labor provisions of the H-2B visa program.

In total, $7,304 in back wages were found as a result of FLSA violations, while $31,209 in back wages were found for H-2B violations. By The Sea Resorts Inc. also paid a civil penalty of $12,695.

A roofing contracting company based in Thonotosassa, Florida has paid $265,001 in back wages to 67 employees after a U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation found the employer violated overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The employer also paid $17,753 in civil money penalties for repeat violations.

WHD investigators found the roofing contracting company paid employees a piece rate without regard to the number of hours they actually worked. This practice resulted in violations when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, but the employer failed to pay them overtime in addition to their piece rates.

WHD also cited recordkeeping violations when the employer failed to maintain daily and weekly records of the number of hours employees worked.

If your employer is denying your overtime pay or if you work more than 40 hours in a workweek and do not see overtime on your paycheck, our Florida Unpaid Overtime Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you recover every penny you have worked for and deserve.

When you work more than 40 hours in a workweek, federal law mandates that you should be compensated at the rate of one and half times your hourly wage. Employees cannot be required to work more than 40 hours in a single week without additional compensation.

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After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Crown Linen LLC – based in Orlando, Florida – will pay $60,863 in back wages to 15 employees for violations of the overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

WHD investigators found that the employer incorrectly considered two groups of employees as exempt from the overtime requirements as managers under the FLSA. This misapplication of the exemption resulted in the employer paying overtime-eligible employees flat weekly salaries with no regard to the number of hours they worked.

This practice resulted in violations when these employees worked more than 40 hours per week and were not paid overtime. Additionally, the employer paid other employees straight time instead of overtime when they worked over 40 hours in a workweek.

The employer also failed to maintain required records of the number of hours employees worked.

How your employer classifies you matters a tremendous deal to your income. If you have been lumped into a managerial position you will lose out on certain benefits that other workers receive, including overtime pay. The law is crystal clear about who should be tited a manager, so if you are worried that your employer has classified you as a manager in error, you may be entitled to financial compensation for back pay and overtime wages.

Our Orlando Employment Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are committed to protecting the rights of employees. We can help determine if a misclassification has occurred in your case and explore your options going forward.

Under federal law, certain qualifications must be met in order for an employee to be considered a manager, including:

  • A guaranteed weekly salary of $455 per week
  • No pay reductions based on the quality or quantity of work in any given week
  • No pay deductions for normal business losses
  • Managers must be responsible for directing the work of at least two employees
  • Managers must be allowed to weigh in on hiring/firing decisions

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After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Paradise Villa Retirement Home Inc. – operator of five South Florida assisted living facilities – has paid $103,389 in back wages to 20 employees for violating minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

WHD investigators concluded that Paradise Villa Retirement Home Inc. inaccurately classified caregivers as independent contractors rather than employees and paid them flat rates per day without regard to the number of hours they actually worked.

This practice resulted in minimum wage violations when those flat rates failed to cover all the hours employees worked at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Overtime violations resulted when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek but were paid only their flat rates with no overtime.

WHD also cited recordkeeping violations when the employer failed to maintain records of the number of hours employees worked.

Misclassifying workers as independent contractors is a very common practice in the workplace. While illegal, some employees elect to engage in these wage theft practices to evade their responsibility to pay workers their legally required wages and benefits.

Is your employer violating your labor rights by misclassifying your job? If your employer is treating you like an independent contractor instead of an employee, our Florida Employment Attorneys at Whittel & Melton may be able to help.

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El Grande Supermarket in Tampa will pay $198,039 in back pay and damages after demonstrating great diversity in ways of violating federal pay rules, the U.S. Department of Labor announced.

That money will go to 17 workers, each worker receiving an average of $11,649.35.

The supermarket run got caught with violations in:

▪ Minimum wage: The Department of Labor said El Grande paid one person a flat salary, then watched as that person worked so many hours, the hourly rate didn’t even reach the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

▪ Overtime: The store paid some overtime-eligible people straight time.

▪ Keeping track of pay: The store failed to record cash payments made to workers, and failed to maintain other required payroll records.

As an employee, you have the right to a fair wage as defined by state and federal law. You may also be entitled to overtime pay. If you are concerned that your employer is not paying you the correct amount, or refusing to pay you proper wages, our Tampa Unpaid Wage and Overtime Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help. Our firm assists employees throughout the Tampa Bay area enforce their right to a fair wage.

As of Jan. 1, 2019, Florida minimum wage is $8.46 an hour. Tipped workers should be paid $5.44 an hour. In regards to overtime pay, all Florida workers must be paid overtime pay of time and a half for any hours worked over 40 during a workweek.

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Employees have filed a class-action lawsuit against Baycare Health System Inc., a Florida hospital, citing alleged unpaid wages, retaliation and violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Florida Workers’ Compensation Act (FWCA).

A woman filed a complaint on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated on May 17, 2018, in the Pinellas Circuit Court against Baycare Health System Inc. alleging that it failed to compensate employees with proper wages and benefits.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that the woman and other similarly situated individuals have suffered irreparable injury and monetary damages as a result of the defendant’s discriminatory practices of interfering with their rights to FMLA and to compensation at the statutory rate of one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay for overtime hours worked.

The hospital allegedly failed to pay employees an overtime premium for all of the overtime hours that they worked, failed to accurately record, report, and/or preserve records of hours worked by its employees, and failed to offer employees FMLA or otherwise notify them of their rights under FMLA.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek judgment against defendant for compensation for lost wages, benefits and other remuneration, reinstatement to a prior position with back pay plus interest, pension rights and all benefits, front pay, liquidated damages, interest, costs, attorney’s fees, and further relief as the court may deem just.

Under FMLA, eligible employees may take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave during any 12 month period, for any of four general reasons:

  1. Birth and care of a newborn child
  2. Adoption placement
  3. Care for an immediate family member (spouse, parent, or child) with a serious health condition
  4. Personal medical leave because the employee is unable to work due to a serious health condition

There are further stipulations outlined under FMLA. In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must have been employed by the employer for at least 12 months and at least 1,250 hours during the twelve months immediately preceding the leave. Moreover, the employee must work at a site where there are at least fifty employees within seventy-five miles.

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A Miami Beach medical transport company is accused again of shorting workers on overtime pay. This time, it cost them $222,059 in back pay.

The company paid 53 employees an average of $4,189.79 after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that the company has a problem obeying some parts of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“(Wage and Hour) investigators determined that Miami Beach Medical Transport LLC failed to pay drivers for time they spent working from home confirming appointments with patients for the following day’s route,” the Department of Labor said in a Wednesday release. “The employer also automatically deducted 30 minutes from employees’ timecards for lunch each day, whether or not employees were actually able to take those breaks.”

A Miami Beach Medical Group employee named filed an unpaid overtime lawsuit in 2012. The suit was dismissed without prejudice in February 2013 for failure to prosecute.

A similar lawsuit was filed by a driver in 2017. The July 11, 2017 settlement says Miami Beach Medical Transport officially denies all of the man’s claims. However, the company paid the man $1,775 to cover his unpaid wages, $2,225 in damages, and $3,500 for Diaz’s attorney’s fees.

The Fair Labor Standards Act has set forth strict standards for employers. If your employer has not paid you in compliance with overtime or minimum wage laws, you are entitled to pursue an unpaid wage claim. Our South Florida Unpaid Overtime Attorneys at Whittel & Melton know you work hard for your money, which is why we have a passion for representing clients against large companies and organizations recover what they rightfully deserve. The law has the power to hold anyone accountable for their wrongful actions, and we want to help you fight for what you are owed.

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A man who worked as Donald Trump’s personal driver for a quarter of a century filed suit against the president’s company on Monday.

He says he wasn’t paid for thousands of hours of overtime.

The man, who served as Trump’s personal driver for more than 25 years and gave up the responsibility after the Secret Service took on the role in 2016, said he was owed overtime wages for about 3,300 hours of driving over the past six years.

Over a 25-year period, the man says he worked 50 to 55 hours a week and earned a base salary but was never paid overtime for the time he worked beyond 40 hours per week.

The suit lists the Trump Organization as a defendant but not Trump himself.

If you are not being paid for all overtime worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek, your employer may be violating the Fair Labor Standard Act. Federal law requires employees who have worked over 40 hours in a week to receive one and a half times their normal pay rate. Moreover, if your employer knowingly refuses to pay you overtime wages, you are entitled to the amount owed to you. You could also recover additional funds such as liquidated damages and attorneys’ fees.

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