National Employment Attorneys
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that provides a range of rights to employees, including a minimum wage, rules for handling tips, and overtime pay eligibility. More than 130 million full-time and part-time workers are currently protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act in the United States. Violations of the FLSA can be prosecuted by the federal government, or employees may take direct action against employers in court. Groups of employees that are “similarly situated” are permitted to come together to bring a “collective action” against their employer under the FLSA. The rules and regulations associated with the FLSA can be confusing, especially if you believe your employer has broken the law and you are attempting to file a claim. It is wise to contact an unpaid wages, tips, and overtime FLSA attorney for guidance.
According to Fair Labor Standards Act, if you were denied overtime pay, deprived of tips, or your pay totaled less per hour worked than the minimum wage, you may have a claim against your employer to collect compensation for unpaid wages.
As an employee, you should be aware of the following:
– Employees in Texas and across the US (unless exempt)must receive at least 1.5 times the regularly hourly rate as overtime pay for hours worked above 40 hours in a given workweek.
– Tipped employees may be paid as little as $2.13 per hour, but only if tips and direct pay total at least the minimum federal wage of $7.25 per hour (note that some states have a higher minimum wage). This is known as a “tip credit.” If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference.
– Tips are the property of the employee. The employer is prohibited from using an employee’s tips for any reason other than as a “tip credit” against the minimum wage obligation to the employee or for a valid tip pool.. The FLSA prohibits any arrangement between the employer and the tipped employee whereby any part of the tip received becomes the property of the employer; a valid tip pooling arrangement is limited to sharing among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips.
Tipped employees, such as wait staff and others, are especially vulnerable to employers’ illegal acts, including:
-Allowing management employees to participate in tip pools, i.e., taking a cut of the tips
-Charging waiters and waitresses for walk-outs who do not pay their bill
-Deducting tips from the employees’ base pay
-Paying less than minimum wage to certain classifications of employees
-Failing or refusing to pay overtime when required
-Altering time cards to inaccurately reflect hours worked
What Is a Collective Action?
Employees with similar claims can join together in one lawsuit, called a “collective action,” to pursue claims against their employer under the FLSA. The employees must be “similarly situated” to bring a collective action. This means they must be subject to a common employer policy. For example, a group of servers at a restaurant chain might bring a collective action claiming that the employer requires them to contribute to a tipping pool that includes managers. These employees are similarly situated under the FLSA and probably could bring a collective action.
Actions Not Covered By The FLSA
The FLSA does not require employers to:
-Pay for vacation, sick leave, or holiday time
-Compensate for meal or break periods
-Pay higher wages for employees who work weekends, nights or holidays
-Give a discharge notice or reason for termination
-Provide severance pay
-Provide health insurance or other insurance benefits
How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of the overtime that you deserve, is improperly taking a portion of your tips, or you are receiving less than minimum hourly wage, it is in your best interest to consult a Wage Loss/FLSA attorney. Here at The Carlson Law Firm, our lawyers are ready to help you with wage and hour law violations. We handle claims throughout the state of Texas, as well as across the country.
We would be happy to discuss your claim in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim.