Best Ohio Wage and Hour Attorney Answer: Is my boss liable for my bounced checks because he did not make my direct deposit on time? Does an employer violate the Fair Labor Standards Act if it pays an employee after my scheduled payday? If my job pays me late, what damages can I get? What are “liquidated” damages?
An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. Except most people don’t get paid every day anymore. We tend to work at least a week and trust that our employer will pay us at the end of the week or end of a two week period. Say that you normally get paid every week on a Friday by your employer. You work hard all week knowing that on Friday you are going to get your paycheck and have the money you need to pay your bills, have some fun on the weekend, or simply to put in the bank and save for a raining day. But what happens if Friday comes and no paycheck or auto deposit? Then imagine it happens more than once, and then before you know it, it becomes a reoccurring problem, and now you cannot count on your employer ever paying you on time. What do you do? Has your employer violated the law? If so, what damages are you entitled to?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are liable to the aggrieved employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees.
In Gordon v. Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc., the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dealt with the question of whether an employee could state a claim for relief under the FLSA by claiming that her employer failed to timely pay her for all of the hours she worked each week. The Court answered “yes” to that question.
Specifically, Gordon argued that Maxim violated Sections 206 and 216 of the FLSA by failing to pay her for all her hours worked each week. In response, Maxim filed a motion to dismiss arguing that Gordon’s claim failed because her argument was solely that the employer “paid her late” not that the employer failed to pay at all. After examination of the facts and case law presented by both parties, the Court stated in its opinion: “We conclude that late payment of wages is the equivalent of nonpayment for purposes of the FLSA.” (Emphasis added).
The Court then held:
This may appear to be a harsh result, causing an otherwise diligent employer who misses payday by a day or two to be subject to liability under the statute. Nonetheless, it must be remembered that the FLSA is to be liberally construed to achieve its purpose. [Citation omitted]. The law is there to protect those who are receiving a minimum wage and are living from paycheck to paycheck. A delay of a few days or a week in the remittance of wages may only be a minor inconvenience to some, but for those at the lower end of the economic scale, even a brief delay can have serious and immediate adverse consequences.
The Court also left open the possibility that Maxim could be subject to liquidated damages if it were ultimately found to have violated the FLSA. In support, the Court relied on Martin v. Selker Brothers, Inc., a Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision, wherein the Court held that liquidated damages under the FLSA “compensate employees for the losses they may have suffered by reason of not receiving their proper wages at the time they were due.” The Court in Gordon cautioned, however, that:
[U]nder § 260 of the FLSA an employer is only exposed to a liquidated damages award beyond the amount of back pay otherwise due if the employer fails to show “to the satisfaction of the court that the act or omission giving rise to [an FLSA minimum wage] action was in good faith and that he had reasonable grounds for believing that his act or omission was not a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
If you have been denied minimum wages or not paid time and a half for your overtime hours, or even think that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at (216) 291-4744. The Spitz Law Firm and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting employees’ wage rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Ohio wage law.
If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of your wages for all of your lawfully earned overtime compensation at a rate of one and half times your normal wages as requires under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards laws or you are an nonexempt employee that has been misclassified as exempt or independent contractor, contact the attorneys at The Spitz Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation. The wage and hour lawyers at The Spitz Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your overtime pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, call (216) 291-4744.
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