Employment News

Overtime Claims Persist for Minnesota Employees

Mar 18, 2014

Unpaid overtime remains a problem for many Minnesota employees. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires many employers to pay overtime wages to employees for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per work week. Minnesota law requires employers to pay overtime wages to employees in excess of 48 hours per workweek. Overtime wages are mandatory and any agreement or policy to not pay overtime is invalid. Even if an employer doesn’t “approve” overtime, it must pay an employee overtime wages if the employee actually worked more than 40 hours in a work week.  Our employment lawyers often see overtime violations in the following industries:

Overtime for State and Federal Corrections Officers

Correctional officers in Minnesota and nationwide work long hours in stressful and sometimes hazardous environments. Every year, these officers suffer injuries in the workplace when confronted by dangerous inmates. Since prison security is required around the clock, officers are required to work 24-7, including nights, weekends, and holidays. In addition to the often dangerous and stressful conditions, recent reports indicate that many of these individuals are forced to work 12 to 6 hour shifts and many go without paid overtime.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA), these employees may be entitled to compensation. The following common practices may entitle a correctional officer to additional overtime pay:

  • State and federal correctional officers must check in and go through a briefing on inmates before a shift is started. Some correctional officers have not been paid for these briefings. This could accumulate to an hour per shift, each day, entitling officers to an hour of overtime each day.
  • Correctional who were forced to overtime and paid time and a half after 8 hours and double for weekends and holidays. In many states, these employees should be paid double, not just time and a half, after 12 hours.

Nationwide, there are hundreds of complaints concerning the understaffing of prisons, which is forcing many of the current employees to work overtime without pay, or lose their jobs and abandon retirement benefits. In many state and federal correctional facilities, seniority gives officers the right to decide whether to work overtime. This often means that officers with the lease seniority could be working 16-hour days, 5 days a week.

If you are a correctional officer and believe you were underpaid and entitled to overtime, please contact our lawyers at Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta by calling 612-252-3570. We are dedicated to helping employees protect their rights under state and federal law. We will review your case and work with you to determine your legal options.

Overtime for Home Healthcare Aid Workers

Home health care workers are critical for many disabled and elderly persons. In end-of-life or during palliative care, home health care workers work long hours, even around the clock inside the patient’s home. These home health care employees work under a variety of contracts and hiring arrangements. Some workers are hired directly by a family or care facility while others are hired by a third-party agency and placed in the home. Depending on what arrangement, employees may or may not be entitled to additional compensation and overtime.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA), employees who were hired by a third-party agency are entitled to overtime. Conversely, employees hired directly by the family are, generally, not entitled to overtime. When considering your own employment arrangement, remember that employment law is complicated and entitlement is not always clear-cut.

In the event that the family of a disabled or elderly person uses a third-party agency and pays a third-party agency for services, the employee of that third-party agency is entitled to overtime wages. In a rising number of employment law claims, national home health care agencies have been found in non-compliance with state and federal overtime laws, mistakenly believing that they are exempt from overtime requirements. If you are a home health care worker hired by a third-party who has worked over 40 hours in a week and has not been paid overtime, you may be entitled to additional compensation.

Home health care aid workers who have been denied overtime should contact our lawyers at Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta by calling 612-252-3570. We will help ensure that you collect the full compensation you are entitled to.

Overtime for Servers and Bartenders

Waiters, bartenders, bussers, and other restaurant staff members often face complicated payment arrangements. Tipped staff may be asked to pool their tips or payout to other members of the staff. However, regardless of tipping arrangements, if a worker performs over 20% of work in a non-tipped work environment, then he or she must be paid minimum wage not the reduced tip rate that is standard for waiters, bartenders and other members of the service staff.

Restaurant work varies from cleaning and prep work to washing dishes, cleaning out refrigerators, or ensuring proper food storage. These additional duties, commonly referred to as “side work,” in the restaurant industry, can comprise up over 2 to 3 hours of work during a 6 to 8 hour shift. This non-tipped work means that employees are being paid at a reduced rate when they should be paid minimum wage for their work. These common wage practices in the restaurant industry are illegal and fairly widespread in Minnesota and nationwide.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), workers whose duties are over 20% “non-tipped” must be paid minimum wages as opposed to “reduced tip wages.” Individual restaurants and national chain restaurants should be held accountable and required to pay employees in accordance with federal standards.

Restaurant owners are routinely under scrutiny for pay arrangements that may illegally deny workers of rightful pay. In many cases, employees have been successful in bringing employment law claims against their employers. Workers who have been paid “reduced tip wages” while performing substantive “non-tipped” duties may have been working under an illegal pay arrangement and entitled to significant compensation for lost wages.

If you are a restaurant employee and believe you were underpaid and entitled to minimum wages for non-tipped work, please contact our lawyers at Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta by calling 612-252-3570. Our attorneys will discuss the facts of your case and explore every opportunity to collect the full compensation you are entitled to.

Overtime for Nurses and Physicians Assistants

In the healthcare industry, for-profit doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals are often looking for ways to cut costs. Unfortunately for patients and for staff, this means reducing the number of employees on the clock. It may also mean illegally cutting pay for nurses and physician assistants who are entitled to overtime.

Nurses and physician assistants are normally paid on a salary basis. In Minnesota and nationwide, some hospitals and health industry employers may deduct for full or partial day absences. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA), employees who are docked pay for absences or a half-day are not, as defined by statute, salaried employees. Under this characterization, any nurse or physician assistant who is docked pay for absences, should also be entitled to overtime wages for any hours worked after 40 per week.

Nurses and physicians assistants who are paid a salary and who are docked pay for absences or half-days may have been denied overtime. Healthcare industry employees who lose pay for missed work and who are only paid a flat salary after 40 hours of work are legally entitled to overtime compensation. Employers who deny overtime to nurses and physicians assistants after 40 hours of are acting unlawfully and face viable claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act or the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act.

If you are a nurse or physician’s assistant and believe you were underpaid and entitled to overtime, please contact our lawyers at Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta by calling 612-252-3570. Our experienced legal team is committed to protecting the rights of workers under state and federal law. We will review your case and help you to decide if you wish to pursue legal action to protect your employment rights. 

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