Posts Tagged ‘back wages’

A consent decree agreement entered Thursday in federal court resolves a disability discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last year on behalf of former employee Charles Goods, and discrimination claims filed by Goods.

The EEOC took up the Greeneville resident’s case against the retailing giant, claiming in a lawsuit filed in October 2010 that Wal-Mart violated federal law when it fired longtime employee Goods because of a cancer-related disability, and retaliated against him for complaining about the discrimination.

The orders in the decree signed by U.S. District Court Judge J. Ronnie Greer include a provision that Wal-Mart pay $275,000 in full settlement of the claims, including $110,000 in back pay with interest and $165,000 for compensatory damages to Goods.

Back wages are for the years 2009 and 2010.

Wal-Mart was also ordered to conduct anti-disability discrimination training for management and take steps to prevent “further failing to provide reasonable accommodation” to employees with disabilities.

EEOC filed the lawsuit under provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the subsequent ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

Goods was hired by Walmart in January 1997 and worked as a forklift operator at the Distribution Center for more than 12 years. In 2005, according to the EEOC civil complaint, he underwent surgery for thyroid cancer.

The surgery severed several nerves and left Goods with limited feeling or strength in his right arm. He remained “a qualified individual with a disability,” the complaint said.

In November 2008, Goods’ supervisor asked him to relieve an employee in the shipping department for a 20-minute break. Goods replied that he could not perform the work because he couldn’t do the manual lifting required there.

He was asked to complete a request for reasonable accommodation, court documents said.

The EEOC complaint demanding a jury trial said that Goods requested reasonable accommodation to continue working in the section of the Distribution Center where he operated a fork lift, adding that he was employed successfully for 12 years, including the three years following his cancer surgery.

Wal-Mart claimed an essential function of Goods’ job “was manual lifting,” the EEOC complaint stated. Goods’ doctor advised Wal-Mart that he could not perform manual lifting.

“In practice, [Wal-Mart] did not require Goods to do any significant manual lifting in order to successfully perform his job,” said the complaint, which claimed the company denied Goods’ requests for reasonable accommodation, asserting that he could not perform essential job functions.

“[Wal-Mart] did not enter into the interactive process to accommodate Mr. Goods’ disability,” the complaint stated, instead placing him on leave “and subsequently discharging him because of his disability.”

Goods was placed on a 90-day leave on Dec. 18, 2008, in response to his request for an accommodation, and denied an appeal before he was advised that “it was his responsibility to find another position that did not have a written requirement of manual lifting.”

He filed a charge of discrimination on May 18, 2009, and was terminated by Wal-Mart on July 16, 2009, “in retaliation for his continuing to request a reasonable accommodation for his disability,” the EEOC complaint stated.

If you believe you have suffered discrimination or job termination due to a disability, feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $71,809 in minimum wage and overtime back wages for 48 workers jointly employed by GHM Wentworth LLC, doing business as Wentworth by the Sea Hotel in New Castle, and contractor Eco-Clean New England Inc., doing business as The Cleaning Crew in Londonderry. Wentworth contracted its housekeeping and kitchen work through Eco-Clean; consequently, the companies were jointly responsible for ensuring compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

An investigation by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division found that employees, many of whom traveled more than 120 miles daily between the Boston area and New Castle, were not properly compensated. Employees were paid “straight time” wages rather than time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 during a single week, as required by the FLSA’s overtime provisions. Additionally, minimum wage violations resulted when the employers failed to provide wages owed from several payrolls and when some resort employees were not compensated for all hours of their work.

GHM Wentworth Inc. has agreed to pay all back wages due the affected employees and to maintain future compliance with the FLSA. The company also has committed to ensuring full compliance by all contractors with which it has a joint employment relationship. Specifically, the company will require Eco-Clean to submit weekly payroll documents to ensure that the jointly employed workers are being paid proper wages for all hours worked.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as well as time and one-half their regular hourly rates for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.

If you believe you are owed for unpaid overtime or wages you should contact the U.S. Department of Labor or a law firm that handles wage and hour litigation. Feel free to contact Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, you are entitled to be paid time and a half for each hour worked over 40 in a given week. When computing these hours, the employer should normally include off the clock training.

Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, Tulsa-based United States Beef Corp., doing business as Arby’s, has agreed to pay $56,838 in back wages to 759 current and former hourly paid managers in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Investigators found that at 255 Arby’s locations in the five states, bonuses paid to managers were not included in regular rates of pay when overtime was computed. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that covered employees be paid time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week.

Additionally, managers in training at an Arby’s in Wichita, Kan., were required to review training material outside of their work hours and not properly compensated for this time. Under the FLSA, employees must receive at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked.

“We are pleased that this company has agreed to change its practices to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the department’s Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “The Wage and Hour Division actively pursues systemic violations by multi-state employers wherever employees are affected by bad practices.”

If you believe you have not been paid properly by your employer speak to the U.S. Department of Labor or an attorney that specializes in wage and hour law. Feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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In the past I have blogged about recent attempts by employers to misclassify employees as independent contractors in violation of Federal Law. Many employers will misclassify employees to avoid: (1) having to pay workers compensation; (2) having to pay unemployment taxes; (3) having to pay payroll taxes; (4) having to pay overtime and (5) having to comply with many other federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination. IN MOST CASES EVEN IF YOUR EMPLOYER SAYS YOU ARE AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR—-YOU LEGALLY ARE NOT ONE!!! Speak to an attorney or the Department of Labor to discuss this issue.

The U.S. Department of Labor has been cracking down on those employers who improperly misclassify employees to avoid overtime pay. A Tulsa-based firm that specializes in drilling petroleum wells has been drilled by the U.S. Department of Labor. For instance the DOL just fined Latshaw Drillling Company.

An investigation by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Latshaw Drilling Company denied overtime for several dozen workers who had been misclassified as independent contractors.

Cynthia Watson a regional administrator for the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour division said: “Latshaw Drilling took advantage of vulnerable workers by misclassifying them as independent contractors rather than regular employees. As a result, they were denied rightful wages and legal protections that are guaranteed under federal law. This practice is illegal and unacceptable.”

The workers were paid straight time instead of time and a-half for hours worked over 40 in a week, as required in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Some employees worked up to 72 hours in a week. 34 painters and sand blasters recovered more than $70,000 in back wages.
Latshaw Drilling has agreed to maintain future compliance by ensuring that all employees are properly classified.

If you believe you have been improperly classified as an independent contractor by your employer, go to the U.S. Department of Labor or an attorney that specializes in wage and hour laws. Feel free to contact Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a consultation.

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I have previously blogged about discrimination against service dogs as a violation of the ADA and state statutes.

In many states, condo associations are giving hard times to disabled persons who have service dogs, especially where the association has no pet rules. Florida Statutes 413.08.  Under the Florida Statutes, at subsection (2) An individual with a disability is entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges in all public accommodations.  Moreover, under subsection (3) An individual with a disability has the right to be accompanied by a service animal in all areas of a public accommodation that the public or customers are normally permitted to occupy.  It is interesting to note also that the statute mandates that an association may not charge a surcharge or pet deposit for a service dog even if normally charged for a pet.

However now there is a new wrinkle. What if a person’s service dog is one of the breeds considered to be a danger to the public? City officials in Denver and in the neighboring suburb of Aurora are being sued over their enforcement of dog breed bans. The suit claims the bans violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Aurora resident and Vietnam veteran Allen Grider is one of the litigants. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and claims his 8-year-old trained service dog, Precious, is essential in helping him cope with his disability. In 2009, Aurora officials seized Precious under the city’s 3-year-old pit bull ban. Though city officials eventually returned Precious to Grider, the reunion came with restrictions, including muzzling the dog in public. Grider and his lawyer, Jennifer Reba Edwards, say that the restrictions make it impossible for Precious to work as a service dog, and that they violate the ADA. The lawsuit is still ongoing, but I will be sure to keep you posted on the final result.

If you are having problems due to your service dog or are otherwise being discriminated against due to your disability, feel free to call Scott M. Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation on this matter.

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The news continues to show that the workers that seem to most frequently get their wages stolen from them are restaurant workers. Frequently not getting paid minimum wage or overtime wages as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

The owner of Ayara Thai Cuisine restaurant in must pay $162,201 in back wages to 35 employees for violating federal minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping laws, officials said Monday.

Ayara Thai owner Ayut Asapahu paid his workers in cash at a flat rate for their hours worked. The rate was below minimum wage and without regard to overtime as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. Department of Labor said in a statement.

Investigators determined that the restaurant owner failed to keep records of employees’ hours and pay, but learned through an investigation that Asapahu paid his kitchen employees $80 to $110 for an 11- to 12-hour workday.

Other employees worked six- to 12-hour workdays, most receiving a daily rate of $45 to $50, authorities said.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked. They also must be paid time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 hours a week or eight hours a day.

Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.

“Many restaurant workers in the Los Angeles area are subject to unacceptable wage practices and irregularities, and we are determined to make sure that they and other vulnerable employees are paid proper wages,” Kimchi Bui, director of the Los Angeles district office of the Labor Department’s

If you believe you are not getting paid properly by your employer, feel free to contact Scott M. Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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