Overtime Pay Lawsuits Set Record in 2015

Almost 9,000 wage and hour lawsuits will have been filed by workers by the end of this year – a new record. This number is up approximately 15% from last year and over 20% from five years ago. While there are several theories as to why employees continue to file an increasing number of lawsuits each year seeking unpaid overtime wages, the likely drivers include:

  • Greater awareness of wage and hour rights among workers
  • Continued ignorance and non-compliance by employers
  • Media coverage of the many big settlements obtained by workers
  • Upcoming changes to the requirements for workers to be “exempt” from overtime pay
  • Many employers have reacted to the increase in overtime lawsuits by requiring employees to give up their right to file their claims in a state or federal court as a class or collective action. It is now common for employers to include mandatory arbitration and class action waivers in their policies and/or employment agreements. By doing so, employers believe they are insuring a more favorable environment (private arbitration) for themselves and limiting potential awards against them by preventing workers from being able to join together in a single class action case.

    Armed with more and better information about their rights and easier access to lawyers who specialize in handling overtime pay claims on a contingent fee basis, it is highly likely that even more workers will take action to protect their paychecks from wage theft, continuing the trend of increased enforcement and recoveries into 2016.

    Click here for more information on the types of pay schemes workers should be questioning.

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