In the past few years, the number of wage and hour claims that have been filed have increased significantly. The claims usually pertain to issues like the misclassification of workers as independent contractors or disputes about exempt status. Other violations, such as inaccurate wage statements or inadequate break periods, are less frequent, but can also result in employers in Texas and around the country being subjected to citations and fines.
For example, in a federal district court in California, an individual who worked at a company who maintained a shipyard in San Diego Bay filed a class action suit against his employer for not providing himself and other employees with the 30-minute meal breaks to which they were legally entitled. According to the complaint, the excessive number of employees who would be lined up to go through a check point before being released for their break resulted in a delay. The employees also had to spend additional time getting off of the ship and returning tools.
The lead plaintiff also alleged that employees were required to buy clothes and shoes from the company without being reimbursed. As a result, the wage statements that were issued by the employer were inaccurate. The employer denied all of the allegations and engaged in settlement talks with the lead plaintiff. A figure of $2.9 million was agreed upon to settle the claims of up to 1,930 potential class members. Although the federal district court determined the potential liability to be $11.5 million, it approved the settlement.
Workers who believe that their employers have committed wage and hour violations may want to meet with an attorney to see what recourse they might have. The first step could be the filing of a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or appropriate state agency.