Employees are spending more time researching what their rights are and looking into lawsuits that can help protect them. One area where this has led to a sharp uptick in lawsuits is in disputes regarding wage and hour violations.
These lawsuits should not be dismissed or overlooked by management because they can present a serious risk to the company overall. These lawsuits can cost businesses big time, sometimes in the upwards of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars where a plaintiff is successful. Legal settlements frequently include back wages and this can cause a major disruption to your cash flow and profits if you do not respond quickly.
Many of these suits now involve employees who are tipped like bartenders and servers. A rising issue involves whether these employees are being paid appropriately to complete duties for which they are not tipped. Sharing tips with hostesses or cooks can also be problematic for tipped employees if those cooks and hostesses are not being paid at the same lower wage, and these lawsuits have increasingly centered upon the concept of employees working off the clock.
National cases involving big employers like Wal-Mart and McDonalds have also spread the word about wage and hour disputes, but the recent recession has also contributed to the problem. The reason is because many companies cut back on staffing and training/compliance seminars and more employees are loaded with tasks than ever. More job duties are common across
Wage and hour dispute allegations should be taken seriously by any company who is alleged to have violated the law. These cases can escalate quickly, so legal consultation should be undertaken as soon as possible.