When employees are denied the wages to which they are entitled, or the overtime pay which they have earned, their rights are being violated. Because of the power differential between employers and employees, however, many employees do not know how to effectively advocate for themselves and ensure that they receive fair pay for their work. Fortunately, there are many different laws that can help employees who have wage and hour claims. In some situations, when there are widespread violations, employees may band together to file a lawsuit against employers.
In Washington, D.C. a group of home health-care workers are suing their employers for wage theft and failure to pay overtime and sick pay. The agencies named in the lawsuit are Human Touch, T&N Nursing, Capitol View Home Health Agency, and VMT Home Health. According to the lawsuit, the wage theft and denial of overtime and sick pay occurred during a three-period when the agencies were paying the health-care workers less than the D.C-mandated living wage. The wage theft and denial of other pay allegedly occurred after an investigation revealed that some of the agencies were involved in a Medicaid scheme, resulting in the loss of Medicaid funding.
Wage and hour claims cover several different types of disputes between employers and employees. Some of the most common types of claims involve wage theft, failure to pay the legally mandated minimum wage or failure to pay overtime or other benefits, such as sick pay. The proper classification of employees-whether exempt or non-exempt-is often a key element of these disputes as some employers will attempt to wrongly classify an employee as exempt in an effort to avoid paying overtime.
Wage theft can involve actions like failure to pay the required minimum wage or wrongful withholding by the employer of tips or commissions earned by an employee. Any situation that involves an employer failing to pay an employee the compensation which is due could be classified as wage theft. In addition, wage and hour disputes may also include disputes over an employee contract or disputes related to the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Source: Washington Post, "D.C. home health-care workers file class-action suit alleging wage theft," Perry Stein, April 15, 2015