Employees in the United States are protected by both federal and state employment laws. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) addresses minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards for all employees in the private sector, as well as government employees. Certain work practices, such as providing pay raises or holiday pay, are not required under the Act. However, employees are entitled to be paid time and a half for any hours worked over a 40-hour work week.
The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor has stated that most workers should be considered employees under the FLSA. Workers who are in business for themselves and who are employed by multiple employers may be considered independent contractors not covered under the Act.
Amazon Accused of Violating the FLSA
A recent lawsuit was brought against Amazon and Courier Logistics Services LLC by four former delivery workers who claim they were illegally denied overtime wages and tips from delivery customers. The former employees claim they were wrongfully classified as independent contractors and were required to work nearly 50 hours a week without being compensated properly for overtime under the FLSA.
Employee misclassification occurs when an employer classifies a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee. Employers may do so inadvertently or to avoid paying employees overtime and provide other benefits under the law. In determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee, courts will consider the relationship between the worker and the employer, and whether the worker is economically dependent upon the employer. Workers who have one employer upon which they are financially dependent are considered employees covered under the Act.
Class Action Suit for Overtime Pay
Amazon also recently faced a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of 10,000 New Jersey Amazon warehouse workers who worked in the company’s facilities in the past two years. The class representative claims that Amazon denied her and hundreds of other employees the overtime wages they were entitled because the company did not count their meal breaks, or the time they spent going through security, toward the 40-hour weekly threshold.
The workers were required to submit to a lengthy security screening both at the end of each shift and during their required 30-minute unpaid meal break if they wished to leave the premises. The class representative claims that she was unable to leave the premises to conduct personal business during her lunch time because of the amount of time it took to go through security and the facility’s large parking lot and remote location.
New Jersey Wage and Hour Law
New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (NJWHL) requires that employees be paid at least one and a half times their regular rate for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. According to the complaint, several questions of law and fact must be answered, including whether Amazon violated the Wage and Hour Law by not paying overtime wages for time spent in mandatory security screenings.
Marlton Employment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Handle Overtime Pay Disputes
If you were the victim of wage theft or other labor law violations, contact the Marlton employment lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. to discuss your case. Call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.