Category: Unpaid Overtime

30 Minutes or Less Cost More

Franchisees of Domino’s Pizza in New York have recently agreed to settle allegations from the office of the state Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman. The claims stem from a wage-theft investigation by the office.

Between 2007 and 2013, six franchisees of the mega pizza brand are said to have violated a slew of New York labor law, including paying below minimum wage, not compensating overtime hours, and failing to reimburse driving expenses to deliverers. The recently decided settlement amounts to $448,000.

The award will be divided up between 750 current and former workers. Each person will receive between $200 and $2,000. The six franchisees own restaurants that span eight New York counties. They were not run by Domino’s corporate, therefore, the parent company has made no comment on the suit.

Additionally, the state Attorney General found McDonald’s liable for similar charges as the Domino’s franchisees. McDonald’s paid nearly $500,000 to workers as well.

Unfortunately, wage-theft is not an uncommon phenomenon in industries such as the food services industry. If you feel like you have been subjected to such unlawful employment practices, contact an Aegis attorney.

“Hey Lacy T. and Sarah G. You Can’t Sue Us!”—The Raiders Respond to Lawsuit

We previously blogged about the Oakland Raiderettes, the famous football team’s cheerleaders, attempting to file a class action law suit against the team for a slew of claims. You can read that blog here.

Well now, the Raiders have something to say about it. The Raiders’ attorneys are now pointing to the initial employment contract the Raiderettes sign as a contingency of their employment. In the contract, the cheerleaders agree to a “binding arbitration” clause. This means, employees who sign this contract cannot pursue a lawsuit in a court of law, but rather, must settle the dispute out of court, for example, in mediation. Typically though, the arbiter, who is meant to be an unbiased party, is hired and paid for by the defending party. In this case, it would paid for by the Raiders. Sounds fair right?

Attorneys for the ladies are confident that can poke holes in the arbitration agreement, however, since the employment contract is “full of illegal provisions.” The Raiders, on the other hand, are looking for the complaint to be set aside so that Lacy T. and Sarah G. have to present their case in front of the NFL Commissioner. The employee contract additionally states that the cheerleaders cannot be part of a class action law suit. Lacy and Sarah’s attorneys argue that “whether the Raiders have broken the laws of California should be decided by a judge and jury, not a secret kangaroo court set up by the NFL.”

This lawsuit now presents a question of the validity and rightness of forced arbitration agreements. Arbitration agreements are often to seen as favoring the employers because employees relinquish their job rights protected under law.

Source: Los Angeles Times

McDonald’s: Not-so-Lovin’-It

It looks like McDonalds’ employees are less than happy with the famous golden arches. They are facing lawsuits in three states, all seeking class action status. The complaints were filed in New York, Michigan, and California. New York has one complaint filed, while Michigan have two and three respectively.

Depending on the state, the claims alleged in the suits vary across an expanse of issues. In Michigan, McDonald’s is accused of using tracking/targeting software which monitors the ratio of labor costs to revenue percentages. If the ratio outnumbers the target, McDonald’s postpones employees from clocking in as to cut cost per revenue. Therefore, employees are at work, reporting to work, but not getting paid because McDonald’s is disallowing them from clocking in.

Other violations stem from uniform issues. We blogged about uniform issues previously, here. 

New York alleges that McDonald’s did not reimburse employees for maintaining and cleaning their uniforms, and Michigan alleges they did not pay for uniforms at all, in violation of state law. California’s complaints entail the alteration of pay records and denial of rest breaks. Each rest break is subject to a premium if not provided by McDonald’s. Therefore, for every rest or meal break missed, the employee is entitled to an hours worth of pay.

Franchise owners and McDonald’s Corporate alike are named in the suits. Over 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants are franchised.

Source: Associated Press

 

It Must be St. Patty’s Day…the President Wants to Give Out More Green

st pattys blogOn March 13, 2014, President Obama issued and signed a Presidential Memorandum ordering the Secretary of Labor – the top dog for the Department of Labor and the federal government’s enforcement of wage laws – to update rules relating to overtime.

The Memorandum points out that the minimum salary test – currently only $23,660 or $455 a week – means that many people in low-income jobs aren’t eligible for overtime pay even though they work much more than 40 hours per week. This salary test determines if one is classified as a salaried, exempt employee. Along with an evaluation of certain duties, how much a person makes can point to an exempt salary status.

If a hard-working employee is, for instance, a night-shift manager at a fast food restaurant, classified as managerial exempt, and earns $460 a week, the company does not have to pay him overtime even if he works 60 or even 80 hours a week.

The $455 number was set back in 2004 and has not been changed since then. The equivalent today would be $553 a week , which would mean many more workers like the night manager in the example would be paid overtime, since that $460 would no longer meet the minimum salary test to be classified as exempt. In California, the minimum salary needed to be classified as exempt is higher at $640 per week (or $33,280 per year).

The President’s Memorandum calls the old regulations and number “outdated” and tells the Secretary of Labor to make the rules more protective and easier for both companies and employees to understand.

Are Provisions of Collective Bargaining Agreements Lawful?

A lot of industries have a collective bargaining agreement in place, otherwise known as a CBA. For example, postal workers, nurses, firefighters, sheriffs’ associations, teachers, etc. are usually subject to a CBA. Sometimes covered employees may wonder whether the provisions they freely bargain for are lawful.

This issue was recently discussed in Vranish v. Exxon Mobil Corporation. In that case, plaintiffs were Exxon employees who were covered by a CBA. According to the CBA, plaintiffs bargained for overtime to be paid for hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek or over 12 hours in a workday. However, the CBA did not allow overtime for hours worked between 8 and 12 in a workday.

Because the CBA differed in the payment of overtime compensation for hours worked between 8 and 12 hours in a workday, the employees argued Exxon owed them overtime compensation. In deciding this issue, the Court ruled that because the CBA paid a higher rate of pay for overtime hours worked, then the provision complied with California law. In short, employees can freely bargain for the rate of overtime pay and also when overtime pay will begin, which is one of the advantages of a CBA.

If you have any questions or would like more information on this topic, please contact the attorneys at

Aegis Law Firm, PC.