All workers across this great country have wage and hour rights. These rights are defined by the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Many states also have prevailing wage requirements. These laws are in place to ensure that employees and independent contractors are compensated for what they deserve.
Despite federal and state laws, many employers violate wage and hour requirements. Whether employers are misclassifying workers or fail to pay overtime or minimum wage, the end result is wage theft. Unfortunately, this is a systemic problem in certain industries. In this editorial, a Tampa wage and hour attorney will discuss industries that commonly violate wage and hour laws. If you feel you are owed additional compensation, consult our attorneys.
Waiting for Compensation in the Restaurant Industry
Although wage theft happens in all industries, it’s especially bad in the service industry, where most employees make minimum wage or less. Florida law allows tipped employees (servers and bartenders) to make as little as $5.54 an hour. In Florida, tipped employees need to earn nearly $3 per hour through tipped compensation to make up the difference. If they don’t, the employer should provide additional compensation so that the employee at least makes minimum wage; however, many employers fail to do so.
Another issue is that service industry employers often require workers to perform tasks off the clock to meet business needs. For example, tasks like prepping the kitchen, mopping the bathroom floors, or cleaning the countertops are performed before or after shift times. Workers performing these tasks should be compensated overtime pay.
Wage and Hour Violations Are a Tough Sell in the Sales Industry
Similar to the issue of tipped compensation for restaurant workers, sales associates are usually exempt from minimum wage if they meet the right parameters. Sales positions vary and can include retail employees, outside sales jobs, or employees that work within a sales department of a business. Because of the wide range of sales jobs, some associates earn a salary, whereas others work strictly for commission. Regardless of the way your employer compensates you, you should be at least earning minimum wage.
Another common issue with sales positions is that every hour spent on the clock isn’t always accounted for by employers. Traveling salesmen spend significant time driving to and from one workplace to another. This often isn’t considered paid time by employers. Retail store workers can work up to 60 hours a week during the holiday season rush, and many employers do not pay one-and-a-half times compensation for each hour worked past 40 in a workweek. These are all common wage and hour violations experienced by sales associates that can be addressed by a Tampa overtime lawyer.
Sickly Wage and Hour Compensation in the Healthcare Industry
Healthcare professionals across the board work long hours, a common theme with any industry that experiences wage and hour violations. This includes professionals that work in hospitals, residential care, skilled nursing, and assisted living facilities. Common forms of wage theft in the healthcare industry include rounding down total hours worked, excluding travel time spent by the employee, and failing to pay employees for time attending required training programs and seminars.
Many of these types of jobs require employees to use their best judgment when working remotely and many employers will rule out some of these hours for not being authorized by the employer. Regardless, healthcare professionals should be compensated for every single hour they work on the clock.
These Hotel Workers Are Not Enjoying Their Stay
Many workers who should be treated as full-time professionals are misclassified as independent contractors. Employers do this to avoid paying taxes, health insurance, paid-time off, holiday pay, and other benefits to save a few bucks. This is especially common for lower level staff members of hotels, including housekeepers or janitors.
If a worker is truly an independent contractor, they should be treated as their own business entity. For example, an independent contractor brings their own tools to work, they have flexibility with their scheduling, they do not require training, and they have the option to turn down tasks when they want to. In the example of a housekeeper, a hotel will provide this worker with a uniform and cleaning cart to perform their tasks. They will be scheduled to work specific hours each day to turnover rooms. They will be trained in their role and required to undergo courses on company policies. Furthermore, if a housekeeper refuses to do certain tasks, their employment will likely be terminated.
Consult our Wage and Hour Attorneys
Whether you work in the service, sales, healthcare, or hospitality industry, it’s important for you to track your hours and have a basic understanding of your wage and hour rights. If you believe that your employer is not paying you what you are owed, consult our wage and hour lawyers to learn more about your rights.
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.