Want to Work 80 Hours and Only Be Paid for 40? An Update on our Fight Against Wage Theft

September 9, 2014  |  Employment Law, Overtime Violations

This weekend I shared a New York Times article on Baron and Budd’s Facebook page. The article was about wage theft, an illegal practice that is described as a theft of wage, or pay, for time worked, and the lawsuits that wronged individuals are filing across the country to speak up against the illegal practice.

Currently, we at Baron and Budd are representing a group of fast food restaurant workers who worked around 70 hours per week without being paid overtime pay. Technically, “overtime” means any time worked over 40 hours per seven-day workweek.

The individuals we are representing are true heroes, some even facing threats of being fired if they speak up against not being paid overtime for time that they clearly worked to earn. But these individuals have learned the hard way of the real worker’s epidemic we are facing, a time when record numbers of individuals from minimum wage hourly to salaried workers are being negatively effected. And the only way we can stop this violation of worker rights from spreading is by speaking up, because the employers who violate one of our nation’s most important employment laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act, which was enacted in 1938 on the promise of “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” are doing so because they do not think they can be caught; because they do not think the individuals who they are harming by denying them overtime pay will speak up.

This weekend the post I shared on Facebook had a number of comments from people with various thoughts and opinions on the issue but the one that ringed the truest for me was simple, it went something like this:

“Want to work 80 hours and only be paid for 40?”

This comment hits home with the matter. Because wage theft is not about education or life choices, and it is not about what side you are on for the immigration issue. Instead, wage theft is a simple obstruction of honest pay for honest work, one of those laws we have had in place for over 75 years that makes our country what it is, an example and a promise of hope.

None of the individuals we are representing expect to be paid “top wages” or to “get rich” for their work. Instead, they understand the pay involved with their job and they are all grateful for the work they have and expect little in return. What they are asking for — and what I encourage all of you who work either as employees or so-called “contractors” without being paid fairly to ask for — is a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. This Fair Labor Standards Act is a law that we’ve had since 1938 and it’s made our country one that we can all be proud of — that is, unless we stay quiet, unless we let corporations think they can get away with stealing our time. That may be an acceptable practice in China, but it should not be an acceptable practice in the United States.

That is why I encourage you, if you suspect that you or someone you know is not being paid fairly, either by being labeled an “independent contractor” when you are not or by being denied overtime pay, please give us a call at 866-723-1890 or email us here.

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