Owner of medical clinics found guilty in overtime and wage issues

When stories break about employees being cheated out of compensation, it is often assumed that it involves the service or retail industry. Unfortunately, workers in any occupation may struggle with overtime and wage issues. West Virginia workers who have been denied rightful compensation do have recourse under federal wage and hour laws.

Recently, the owners of several pediatric clinics were ordered to pay approximately $92,000 to 31 employees for back wages. According to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, the owners of the clinics failed to properly compensate their employees on multiple occasions. It was determined that, more than once, payroll was issued in spite of the fact that sufficient funds were not available to cover the paychecks. In addition, some workers were not credited with mandated overtime pay. 

Steak 'n Shake facing second misclassification verdict

Steak 'n Shake restaurants are located in West Virginia and in other regions in the country and around the world. The fast food chain is known for its burgers, fries and numerous varieties of milkshakes. Many families patronize the locations while traveling or eating out near home. Unfortunately, the chain finds itself in some trouble as it faces a class action lawsuit over the misclassification of certain jobs.

The lawsuit was initially filed in 2017 in another state. A ruling was made in May 2019 that required Steak 'n Shake to pay around 300 managers and their attorneys $7.7 million. This companion lawsuit involves roughly 1,200 employees who claim that their jobs have been misclassified by the restaurant chain.

Is your vehicle putting you more at risk of a rollover crash?

One of the scariest scenes many people have witnessed is seeing a vehicle roll over in a car accident. Such events can almost seem surreal because everyone knows that vehicles are supposed to remain with their tires on the ground, and when one overturns, it is frightening and almost unbelievable.

Of course, the situation is far worse if you are someone inside the vehicle that overturns. Though rollover accidents may not be as common as other, less-severe car crashes, they still take place far too often. Because you undoubtedly do not want to put others at risk of such an incident, you try to remain as safe a driver as possible.

Should I be worried about slip-and-fall accidents while shopping?

Shopping might seem like a relatively safe experience, but it can be much more dangerous than most people think. Slip-and-fall accidents and subsequent injuries are a serious threat to the safety and well-being of West Virginia shoppers. Here are a few examples of how a business owner's or worker's negligent behavior could lead to a serious accident.

Businesses have to clean and maintain tidy interiors. However, waxing, polishing or mopping floors can leave behind a wet or slippery surface that might not be easy to see. Employers or owners are supposed to provide warnings or barricade off an area if the floors are wet, but many fail to do so. When this happens, unsuspecting customers can easily fall and suffer severe injuries.

Overtime and wage issues: Restaurant owner must pay back wages

There are literally thousands of restaurants in West Virginia and elsewhere around the country. Employees often work long hours prepping food to cook, serving customers and cleaning up after closing. While most business owners adhere to applicable labor laws, there are some who find themselves struggling with overtime and wage issues. In fact, an owner of two restaurants in another state has been required to pay back wages and damages to his employees following an investigation.

The U.S. Department of Labor discovered that the employees at the two restaurants were being paid only their straight wage rate, although they were working over 40 hours a week. This is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act that requires any hours worked over 40 to be paid at a time and a half rate. The restaurant owner must pay 91 current and former employees over $100,000 in back wages and damages.

Misclassification of employees rampant in gig economy companies

Many so-called "gig economy companies" operate in West Virginia and all across the country. Some businesses, such as Uber or Lyft, offer ride-sharing services to customers. Companies like Grubhub or DoorDash deliver food from various restaurants to people's homes or offices. While most of the gig employees work as independent contractors, there is a growing concern that the companies who hire them are guilty of misclassification.

By classifying employees as independent contractors, companies can avoid paying health care benefits and unemployment for them. The workers are also unable to unionize or participate in collective bargaining. Businesses also are not required to follow the guidelines for mandatory breaks or harassment for on-demand employees.

Unpaid work time: Dick's to pay $2.9 million to workers

Many West Virginia employees and others around the nation have activities they must perform before or after their specified work shifts. For example, employees have to walk to and from their cars to get to their workplaces. This type of activity would not be considered as part of their principal work activities and would, therefore, not be compensated according to Department of Labor laws. However, some companies try to add other preliminary or postliminary activities to their staff members. One corporation in another state recently settled a lawsuit for unpaid work time involving activities before their employees' designated work times.

Dick's Sporting Goods, a major retail company, conducted searches of its employees and their bags following their shifts. According to a lawsuit, the company failed to pay employees for this time between Mar. 2011 and Jan. 2015. The lawsuit involved a class of over 10,500 current and former Dick's employees. The lawsuit was settled for $2.9 million, and each employee should receive roughly $155 in the settlement.

Labor laws and what they say about your right to fair pay

As an employee in West Virginia, you believe that you have the right to fair pay. This means that you deserve rightful pay for the hours you worked, including overtime. Fortunately, there are federal laws in place that agree that you have these rights, such as the Federal Labor Standards Act. Thanks to the FLSA, you deserve fair pay and treatment from your employer. 

Under the FLSA, certain types of employees have the guarantee of minimum wage and overtime pay. If you are an hourly employee, it may be in your interests to learn about the protections provided to you and how you can fight for your rights in the event your employer is not paying you fairly. Wage and hour disputes are complex, but you do not have to address these issues on your own.

Swift settles misclassification lawsuit with truck drivers

There are many truck drivers in West Virginia and all across the country who are considered to be independent contractors at their places of employment. Often, companies use contractors as part of their workforces in addition to their full-time employees. While this arrangement can be beneficial to all parties involved, it can also be abused. Managers may begin treating their contractors just as they do their "regular" employees and violate labor laws. Recently, a major transportation company settled a lawsuit that stemmed from misclassification of its truck drivers as independent contractors.

Almost 20,000 truck drivers claimed in a class action lawsuit that Swift Transportation had misclassified them as contractors from 1999 to 2017. The claim, filed in 2009, stated that since the drivers were classified as independent contractors, they were not paid the legally required minimum wage. Therefore, according to the lawsuit, the company was violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. Officials at Swift tried to seek arbitration through the Federal Arbitration Act and through the arbitration laws of its state.

Man sues NFL team after a slip-and-fall accident

Going to a National Football League game may be dream for many West Virginia residents and others around the country. Having an opportunity to watch professional players or support a favorite team would make it a highly anticipated experience. But what if that experience was marred by an accident? A Bengals season ticket holder recently sued the organization after a slip-and-fall incident at the team's stadium.

In Oct. 2018, the Bengals were playing a home game against the Steelers. A 20-year season ticket holder was in attendance at the game. While heading into the rest room, he slipped and fell near one of the stalls. The man fell backwards and hurt his shoulder as a result of the fall.

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