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Unfair pay and wage-and-hour disputes on the rise

Some commentators say that a lack of enforcement of wage-and-hour laws from the Department of Labor over the past 20 years has led to a huge increase in wage-and-hour lawsuits in the nation’s courtrooms. Workers have been denied fair pay under current laws. Analysts have noted a spike in such pay disputes in the past decade and a 432 percent increase in the number of unfair pay lawsuits in the past twenty years.

Wage-and-hour disputes may arise in a number of ways involving unfair pay from employers. Some lawsuits involve basic issues involving workers who are required to perform duties while off-the-clock.

Essentially, some hourly workers are not paid for all of the hours that they work. Other cases may involve salaried workers in a similar type of situation who are unfairly denied overtime for work performed based upon an unfair classification as a salaried worker.

Tipped employees may be paid so low in wages that when combined with all income from tips, the total income for hours worked does not rise to the level of minimum wage in an area, according to worker’s advocates.

Low enforcement efforts from the Department of Labor may not be the only influence on the jump in wage-and-hour issues. The economic downturn caused a rise in unemployment, making it difficult for some workers to complain about unfair pay issues.

Wage-and-hour disputes are no stranger in federal courts in New York. Federal laws set a 40-hour workweek and rules regarding overtime pay. Minimum wage laws are often important in such disputes. But labor and employment law issues are complex.

A New York employment law attorney can help explain how wage-and-hour laws may apply in individual situations for a worker who believes that an employer is providing an unlawful wage.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Wage-And-Hour Lawsuits Jumped 432 Percent In The Last 20 Years," Jillian Berman, May 14, 2013

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