Illegal Wage & Hour Pay Practices Cause of Numerous Lawsuits

Tennessee Employment Law Blog explores recent wage and hour lawsuits in this entry to inform Tennessee hourly wage workers about common means employers use to underpay employees.

Times are tough. Tennessee businesses and employers across the nation are meeting tough times with layoffs and cutting costs. But when employees’ pay is illegally cut, some employees have chosen to get tough back and are able to recover unpaid wages or unpaid overtime by working with employment lawyers on wage and hour lawsuits.

Wage employees in Pennsylvania are taking on Aramark Corp., the Philadelphia-based food-service giant, that allegedly cheated its workers out of overtime pay and the lunches and breaks required by federal workplace law under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This week several Aramark wage workers filed a summons in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court in what may become a class-action lawsuit. Their attorney estimates damages of up to $2M for the 3,000 workers employed to provide service Aramarak’s stadiums

Previously in April of last year, Aramark settled, without admitting wrongdoing, a similar case involving 419 workers. The present filing entered as evidence a sample pay stub that demonstrates, according the plaintiff’s attorney, the company’s deliberate design to make it difficult for workers to determine their amount of hours worked.

Some allegations center on the unpaid overtime for when an employee worked in two separate locations for Aramark. Additionally, 30 minutes was automatically deducted from hours worked, even though half-hour lunches were not always available to employees. For some workers, not receiving payment for these automatically deducted 30-minute lunches meant they were being paid less than minimum wage.

Another wage and hour employment news item corresponds well with Tennessee Employment Law Blog’s sister site’s reportage on nursing home neglect. Our other Tennessee legal help site provides free information on TN nursing home care and abuse signs for Higgins Firm’s Tennessee personal injury law branch. In these TN nursing home neglect blogs, we often find that understaffing a key cause behind nursing home neglect. This week, a Cleveland-area newspaper reported on Ohio nursing home employees at Wellington Manor Nursing Home losing their jobs and pay when their employer cut and ran.

Over 20 employees lost their jobs when Owner Kay Justice informed them that she was closing the nursing home in a week. Then she disappeared, along with their final weeks’ pay.

This wage theft is increasingly common throughout the U.S. and found whenever employers fail to track their employee’s hours, fail to pay overtime, fail to pay for all hours worked, or fail to provide minimum wage. One employee’s rights legal organization in Ohio has seen its wage theft cases triple. One OH-based business, Inkstop, had 450-plus employees and more than 150 stores in 14 states including Georgia before abruptly closing last year owing 456 former employees $1.1 million in wages, vacation pay, and reimbursements, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court filings.

As one lawyer who represents companies accused of wage and hour violations says in the article, companies should regularly audit their operations to make sure workers are being paid appropriately. If not, employers can be on the hook for up to three years worth of back wages and face punitive damages and attorneys fees as well.

Still, many incidences of wage theft are not reported because employees are afraid to do right, even though they are protected by employment law.

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