ISSUES IN THE WORKPLACE
In these tough economic times, employers are taking advantage of workers.
It pretty much goes without saying that we all want to keep our jobs. And jobs aren’t just about the money. Along with a job comes self-esteem, often times some co-workers that are our friends, and a regularity of life. We often define ourselves by our job. The fact is, the job is a comfort zone and we don’t really want to change it.
And that’s why the employers have such powerful leverage over their workers – they know this. They are in a position of power to create conditions that favor the employer and that enrich the employer at the worker’s expense. Pretty much the employer is playing poker with the lives of their employees, and their objective is to win. Win what? Win money!! When the employer can get more work out of you at the same cost, that benefit goes directly into the employer’s pocket. Multiply that benefit by many employees, and you see why employers have an incentive to push the boundaries, squeeze the workers.
HOW DO EMPLOYERS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EMPLOYEES?
There are many ways:
•Not giving rest periods;
•Not giving meal periods, or, “work while you eat";
•Not overtime pay for:
Hours worked in excess of eight hours per day.
Hours worked in excess of forty hours per week.
Hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work.
•Making employees work “off the clock"
•Not paying your for your “on call" time.
•Paying employees in cash, and then not paying the FICA and EDD taxes.
No FICA means no Federal Unemployment taxes paid into your account
No EDD means no State unemployment insurance paid to your account
No EDD means no State Disability Insurance when you’re injured.
•In some cases, the employers just don’t pay the employees for all the time they have clocked in. It’s called stealing.
•Not giving employees an accurate itemized statement of their wages. An accurate itemized statement should show all these things. If the employer doesn’t give you and accurate itemized statement, it’s because he is trying to hide information from your or defraud you and the government. An accurate itemized statement should show all these things.
The employee’s name;
The last four of your Social Security number or an employee number.
The inclusive dates of the pay period;
The total hours worked in the pay period;
The rate of pay for the hours worked, broken down into
Your total pay for the pay period; and
WHAT YOU ARE ENTITLED TO:
Rest periods: A 10-minute rest period for every four hours worked, or major part thereof, normally to be taken during the middle of the four hour period. If your employer fails to give you one or more rest periods during the work day, he should pay you an additional hour of pay, at regular time, for failing to give you the rest period.
Meal periods: If you work at least five hours, then an uninterrupted thirty minute meal period where your time is your own unless the workplace conditions won’t allow your leaving during the meal period (Working in remote location; security considerations, etc.). If you work an additional five hours, then you are entitled to a second thirty minute uninterrupted meal period If your employer fails to give you one or more meal periods during the work day, he should pay you an additional hour of pay, at regular time, for failing to give you the meal periods.
Overtime pay: Unless you are on a 4 day – 10 hour work program, you are entitled to time and a half for each hour in excess of eight hours. Even if you work a split shift that totals more than eight hours.
Time and a half for hours worked in excess of eight hours per day, or worked in excess of forty hours per week of regular time, and the first 8 hours worked on the seventh day of the week.
Double time for hours worked in excess of 12 hours per day, or in excess of 8 hours on the seventh day of the week.
Work “Off the Clock" That’s just not allowed. If you’re working, you’re entitled to get paid and get the overtime and meal and rest breaks shown above.
Split-Shifts: If your employer makes you work two distinct shifts, separated by two hours or more, then you are entitled to a “split-shift" premium, an additional one hours pay at regular time just for having to report back to work and using up your day.
Payment for “On Call" time: When you are supposedly off work, but can’t go out and do your normal chores or live your normal life because you are “on call", then you are entitled to be paid for all the time during which you are subject to be called out. If you were a maintenance person at a manufacturing plant, and nothing was broken, you would still be paid for having to wait and be available to repair the machines. The same kind of thinking applies to those who are “on call" for their employers.
WHAT TO DO
Seek help from a qualified attorney who will help get you what you deserve. If your case goes to trial and you win, the law provides that the employer must pay your attorney’s fees and casts.