I know it’s hard to believe but sometimes employees get cheated by their boss! Big companies, as well as small, have a responsibility to follow the law. This means that under certain circumstances they must pay overtime, provide meal breaks and rest periods, reimburse you for money that you have laid out for required uniforms, pay you for travel time and, depending on the circumstances, cannot take back commissions paid to you if a sale is canceled. This is just a small sampling of the obligations that your employer (or former employer) has to you as their employee — more in future posts.
Your boss may tell you that you’re exempt from earning overtime because you are salaried, management and/or administrative. However, the law has some pretty specific rules which may or may not apply to your particular situation. There has been a lot of recent litigation against large companies who have not followed the rules. For example, a $210 Million judgment was entered against Farmer’s Insurance for misclassifying their adjusters as exempt from being entitled to overtime pay. Farmers argued that the adjusters were administrative when, in fact, they were ultimately determined to be classified as production workers.
The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement lays out the rules for meal periods and breaks. Recently, a lawsuit was filed against Brinker Restaurant Corporation, owners of Chili’s, Maggiano’s Little Italy and Romano’s Macaroni Grill for allegedly failing to provide meal and break periods to employees — this after already having paid $10 Million in 2002 for California wage and hour violations! Are you being provided with the meal and break periods that you are entitled to?
More on this subject in the coming days, weeks and months.
Thoughts, concerns? Please comment.