FLSA lawsuits filed over wage and hour violations climb for the second straight year

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by Jay Pate

The number of wage and hour lawsuits filed by workers against their employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act rose for the second straight year in 2014, according to a recent analysis of U.S. federal court records. The numbers of FLSA lawsuits filed in federal court has risen sharply since 2002, prompting many employers to crack down on violations of federal labor laws in order to avoid the threat of litigation.

According to federal court records, a total of 7,964 FLSA lawsuits were filed in 2014, a 3.32% increase from the 7,708 cases that were filed during the previous year. This 2013 total was itself a 2.09% increase from the 7,550 FLSA lawsuits that were filed during 2012.

Federal courts in Texas, Florida, and New York were among the busiest for FLSA litigation over the last three years. A total of 926 federal wage and hour lawsuits were filed in Texas during 2014. At least 1,696 FLSA lawsuits were filed in New York last year, while Florida—the busiest state—saw 1,837 lawsuits filed over FLSA violations.

Legal experts say that the number of lawsuits filed over wage and hour violations under FLSA has risen as workers have become increasingly aware of their rights as employees under federal law. As a result, many employers have started to pay closer attention to payment practices for their employees in order to ensure that they follow federal law and avoid facing costly lawsuits.

Attorneys who represent both workers and employers say that they expect the number of FLSA lawsuits to continue to rise in upcoming years due to the increased focus placed on wage and hour violations by the Obama administration. Experts say that in order to limit their risk of facing litigation, employers should be vigilant about monitoring how their employees are paid, work to foster a culture of compliance with federal labor laws, and ensure that managers are properly trained regarding common wage and hour violations.

FLSA Lawsuits and Wage and Hour Violations

Despite the increased vigilance on the part of many employers due to the rise in lawsuits filed over violations of federal labor laws, many employees continue to be victims of unfair payment practices. Some of the most common FLSA violations include:

  • Failing to pay time and a half for overtime work
  • Processing errors that result in unpaid overtime wages
  • Forcing workers to do their jobs “off the clock” without pay
  • Mandatory employee training without payment
  • Classification of FLSA non-exempt employees as exempt
  • “Donning and doffing” without pay
  • Workers who are forced to take work home, work without proper breaks, or mandatory “volunteer work”
  • Failure to pay employees for miscellaneous tasks such as daily setup, paperwork, or travel

Heygood, Orr & Pearson and FLSA Overtime Lawsuits

Workers who are subject to overtime violations or other improper payment practices may be eligible to file a lawsuit under FLSA and receive back pay or other compensation. The first step in filing an FLSA lawsuit is to speak with an attorney who has the knowledge and experience to handle your case.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have represented numerous plaintiffs in various class actions or multi-district litigation cases involving commercial litigation and other legal matters in Texas and other jurisdictions across the U.S. Our attorneys are trial lawyers in the truest sense of the term, having tried hundreds of cases to verdict and achieved settlements in hundreds more. In total, the attorneys with Heygood, Orr & Pearson have achieved verdicts and settlements for our clients totaling more than $200 million.

Our firm is AV-rated, the highest legal and ethical rating available from the leading law firm rating service. Our partners Michael Heygood, Jim Orr, and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Heygood and Mr. Orr are additionally Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our partners have been voted by their peers as “Super Lawyers” in the state of Texas for several years in a row.*

For more information about filing an FLSA overtime lawsuits and find out if you qualify to file a case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form located on this website.

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* Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2014.