Category: Wage & Hour Rights

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.

Overtime Violations: More Common Than You Think!

Overtime violations are more common than you think. Every year, thousands of overtime payment violations are reported to government agencies – and that doesn’t count all the cases that aren’t reported. In the last year, the federal Wage and Hour Division by itself has cited more than 7,300 wage violations. In 2012 and 2011, there were more than 13,000 violations found by the department each year.

If you work in a lower-wage industry, you are even more likely to be affected. In 2008, the Wage and Hour Division calculated the violations and picked out the top wage-violation industries: restaurants, garment manufacturing, agriculture, hotels and motels, janitorial services, temp work, guard services, and health care.

A few examples:

• Since 2000, Subway restaurants have had to pay back wages for overtime violations more than 800 times.

• McDonalds has done slightly better, only being caught 300 times since 1985.

• Day care services have been major violators, having to pay back wages for overtime violations in more than 2000 cases since 2000.

• Doctor’s offices are another hotspot for overtime violations. One healthcare company in Massachusetts had to pay nearly $3 million dollars to employees for unpaid overtime in 2009.

Spring Forward: How Daylight Savings Effects Paying Employees

It’s daylight savings time! This means, everyone at work feels virtually jet lagged for the hour lost on Sunday morning at 2:00am. But the hour lost is not the only change to be cognizant of while springing forward. For all those hourly or non-exempt employee, make sure your employer is compensating you correctly during each daylight savings change.

During the spring, we lose an hour in the wee hours of that Sunday morning in March. While this does not affect employees who work during the day, those employees who work the night shift, or graveyard shift, are affected. Essentially, if you work the graveyard shift, during the spring, you may work one hour less during the shift daylight savings occurs. For instance, since the clocks spring forward, a graveyard shift employee is not working the hour of 2am to 3am, therefore, is only working a seven hours shift rather than an eight.

It’s the autumn “fall back” time change that employees need to really pay attention. Once again, graveyard shift employees want to be careful looking at their paychecks for that pay period. Since the clock “falls back,” a graveyard shift employee is working an extra hour, essentially repeating the 1am to 2am hour over again. That means, instead of eight hours, an employee would have worked nine hours. That ninth hour is now payable at an hour time rate ( 1.5 times normal hour’s rate).

So make sure, during each time change that you are paid correctly! And make sure to change your clocks so you don’t get to work an hour early or late!