Chauffeurs employed by a New Jersey based limousine company reached a settlement of their claims that, as non-exempt employees, they were improperly denied unpaid wages for off the clock work, spread of hours compensation, overtime compensation for hours in excess of 40 per workweek, misappropriated time, as well as illegal deductions for phony 401(k) accounts.
These numerous alleged violations were brought as part of a class and collective action under federal law, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), New York Wage and Hour Laws, Connecticut Wage and Hour Laws, Massachusetts Wage and Hour Laws and New Jersey Wage and Hour Laws.
Off the clock work
Drivers claimed they were owed at least 5 hours per week in unpaid off the clock work time based on the fact that:
- They were not compensated at all for the drive time from their home to the first customer pick-up each day, or from the last job home at the end of each day, and
- Each day one hour was automatically deducted for breaks, whether or not they were taken
Retention of Tips
Under both state and federal laws, tips are the property of the employee. The workers claimed that certain customers were charged a 20% gratuity which the company was prohibited from keeping as it did not use the tips as a credit against the minimum wage or maintain a valid tip pool. By keeping a portion of the drivers’ tips, the company illegally misappropriated such funds in violation of state and federal wage laws regarding tips.
Drivers routinely worked in excess of 40 hours per week but were required to submit false time records and were not paid overtime compensation for all such hours. As a result, they did not receive time and a-half their regular rate of pay for all of their overtime hours and were significantly under paid.
In one workweek used to illustrate the issue, the driver was shorted over $330 in wages. The driver was compensated for 63.77 hours and received pay of $1,172.65 which consisted of $620 in base salary, overtime pay of $552.65 at a rate of $23.25 per hour and $0 in tips. The driver actually worked 78 hours during the workweek and should have received total pay of $1,503.50, consisting of $620 base salary plus overtime pay of $883.50 (38 hours x $23.20) plus tips of approximately $300.
What to Do If You Have Not Been Paid Properly
When an employer illegally fails to pay workers all of the wages they are owed, it is call wage theft. If you have been working in a job that requires you to under report your hours or improperly keeps some or all of your tips, there is a good chance that you and your coworkers could be owed significant compensation for back wages.
If you have questions or believe that you have been the victim of wage theft contact us for a free and confidential review of your situation.