Saturday, July 28, 2012

Overtime Wage Complaints Hit Record Level

If you think you've been short-changed on your overtime pay, you need to call me immediately.  I and a few of my colleagues who specialize in overtime pay disputes handle these types of cases often. this article describes....the practice of employers not paying proper overtime is occurring more and more.  Sometimes the practice can be wide-spread throughout an organization-- such as the massive class action against Walmart that resulted in Walmart paying to workers millions of past due overtime pay.

From the article:

The number of workers filing complaints against their employers under the Fair Labor Standard Act has skyrocketed, a report published by the law firm Seyfarth Shaw shows. Since 1993, the number of federal case loads relating to misclassification of workers, failure to pay overtime and miscalculated overtime for non-exempt workers has risen to a new all-time record of 7,006 in 2011 from 1,457 cases in 1993. 
And this year is on track to beat that, with 7,064 cases already filed. Lack of clarity in overtime laws and lucrative settlements for plaintiffs are just some of the reasons why the number of reported wage abuse cases is going up. In addition, a weak economy has pushed corporations operating with a slimmed-down staff to squeeze more out of their employees. 
Findings from other studies echo the data. In a report cataloging wage violations in New York City, the National Employment Law Project found that 77 percent of the study's surveyed low-wage workers who had worked more than 40 hours in one week did not receive their required overtime pay; the number rises to 93 percent for workers who worked more than 10 hours in one day. 
The study also found that 21 percent of workers reported that they were being paid less than the required minimum wage. Only non-white U.S. born workers did not report a minimum wage violation. The average low wage worker loses out on $58 per week and $3,000 per year due to wage violations by employers, according to the study.

More evidence on the dangers of 2nd and 3rd Shifts

More bad news for late-shift workers: Their odd hours may be raising their risk of heart attack and stroke.  So says a new, large-scale study in the British Medical Journal that adds these two problems -- which fit into a broader category known as vascular disease -- to the previously known risks of shift work. Previous research had suggested that working the graveyard shift, the swing shift or any irregular shift other than the traditional 9-to-5 is linked to high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. 
British and Canadian researchers analyzed the findings of 34 studies that included more than 2 million people who had work schedules including anything other than regular daytime hours. They found that shift work was linked to a 23 percent increased risk of heart attack and a 5 percent increased risk of stroke. Those working night shifts seemed to be at the highest risk.  The study authors said it pays for workers to know that their jobs may put them at increased risk. 
A variety of factors -- not just the shift work itself -- could be culprit in increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke for people in those occupations. A lack of sleep, poor eating habits and lower levels of physical activity could plague those who work irregular hours and drive up the risk of vascular disease. 
Dr. Robert Bonow, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and past president of the American Heart Association, said it's possible that people working jobs requiring shift work may be economically disadvantaged and have less access to health care -- two factors generally associated with unfavorable health outcomes.
For years I've been fascinated by the growing evidence of the negative health affects associated with shift work.  It seems to make sense when workers' sleep patterns are constantly disrupted. Interesting stuff.  I'll keep an eye out on any new studies/articles and post them when I see them.