Whether by accident or willful misconduct, when business owners violate wage and hour laws, they are cheating their hardworking staff out of the compensation they rightfully deserve. In this two-part article, our Tampa overtime lawyers will discuss some of the most common excuses employers make for violating federal laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
It’s critical that employers know these laws to avoid liability. For employees, if compensation is being withheld, they can contact a Tampa overtime lawyer to seek these unpaid wages. In this part, we will discuss employers that plead ignorance, claim they don’t have the resources, or take advantage of a worker who was willing to accept less than the minimum wage.
1) They Don’t Know the Rules
Although many employers will try to avoid a penalty by claiming they didn’t know they had violated wage and hour laws, ignorant employers are not rewarded. In fact, if an employer admits they had no idea they were violating the law, this could end up resulting in a deeper investigation by the Department of Labor (DOL) and more costly fines for infractions. Many employers in the service industry will claim that they didn’t know they needed to compensate their tipped employees an hourly wage or that they weren’t aware that they owed their workforce overtime pay. Regardless, if there is clear evidence that the employer is violating the law, it doesn’t matter whether or not they were aware of that law.
2) They Don’t Have the Resources
Many owners of small businesses save where they can. Perhaps instead of using an automated payroll system, they track hours by hand. Others might only have one or two employees, so they require these workers to work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Although it can be difficult to manage a small business, this is no excuse for wage and hour violations. Employers that cut corners and don’t pay their staff accurately may end up regretting this decision when they incur significant fines and owe unpaid wages to a worker that files a complaint.
3) The Worker Was Alright with the Agreement
Although many wage and hour cases occur following a complaint from a worker, in some cases a wage and hour violation is uncovered during an investigation. Many employees that are desperate for work will offer to work for whatever day rate they can get. They will work 60 hours a week without overtime to remain employed. Even if the worker signs a contract waiving their rights, this contract is null and void in the eyes of federal law. An employee cannot waive their basic rights to minimum wage or overtime.
For three more excuses employers make for violating wage and hour laws, please read part two.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.