If you work at multiple locations and do not get paid overtime based on the combined total hours worked, your employer is likely violating the law…and owes you back overtime pay.
A common scheme used by large multi-location employers to avoid paying workers overtime is to spread workers across 2 or more locations during a workweek, and then only pay overtime if they work more than 40 hours at any single location (which they almost never do). This happens at all types of businesses, but restaurant chains and healthcare or assisted living facilities are frequent offenders.
A good example is a recent class action overtime claim filed in Pennsylvania against Trinity Health and two of its wholly-owned health systems. The case was brought by a medical lab technician who worked at locations operated by all three, was paid hourly, and classified as non-exempt from federal and state overtime laws (meaning, they knew he was entitled to overtime pay). Instead of paying him, and other similar workers, overtime based on the total number of hours worked at all locations under the control of Trinity Health, his employer considered each location separately – resulting in little to no overtime pay, including in pay periods where he actually had 17 overtime hours. This type of wage theft can add up fast, depriving workers of meaningful amounts of take-home pay…and unjustly enriching their employers.
What Does the Law Say?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that all of a worker’s hours, including hours worked at a different location, be counted toward when determining overtime pay. Even if an employee is performing two different kinds of work with different pay rates, the hours must be combined for overtime pay purposes.
Employees should also know that it is not just work for the exact same company that counts. If two or more companies are both controlling the worker (i.e. they are “joint employers”) the hours worked for all joint employers during the workweek must be counted for overtime purposes. According to the Department of Labor, joint employment is most likely to exist when: (1) an employee has two or more separate but related or associated employers, or (2) one employer provides labor to another employer and the workers are economically dependent on both employers.
Examples of this type of joint employer relationship are common in the construction business between General Contractors and subs and/or staffing agencies. Where a laborer is hired and paid by XYZ Drywall Company, an independent subcontractor on a construction project and the General Contractor (“GC”) provides all the training for the project, as well as the equipment, materials, and workers’ compensation insurance, and is responsible for his health and safety on the site. The GC reserves the right to remove the laborer from the project, controls his schedule, and provides assignments, but both the GC and XYZ supervise his work. The laborer has been continuously working on the GC’s projects, whether through XYZ Drywall or another intermediary employer. These facts strongly indicate a joint employer relationship.
Are You Owed Overtime for Working at Multiple Locations or for Joint Employers?
For more information and to find out if you may be owed for unpaid overtime worked at multiple locations, contact our lawyers who represent workers, not companies, in overtime pay claims. Click here for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL review of your circumstances.