American workers spend a large percentage of our waking lives within the workplace. Because we give so much of our time to our jobs, we expect to be treated fairly and compensated in the manner laid out by our employment agreements as well as California law. When workers do not receive the compensation that they have earned, many try to handle their workplace dispute through the channels within their company. When those efforts fail, the employee is left with little choice but to turn to litigation to rectify the matter.
In the 21st century, it would be nice to believe that our society has evolved to a point where employees are paid fairly for the work they perform. To most people, this means an hourly wage that meets or exceeds the state and federal minimum.
In the wake of the recession, many employers are beginning to hire employees again after having to lay workers off or limit the growth of their workforce. But some may be gun-shy about bringing on full-time employees when the business' economic security seems tenuous.
Federal labor laws exist to ensure that employees are treated - and paid - fairly for the important work that they do. Employers are required by law to pay certain wages, provide certain benefits and keep proper records of the time employees work, compensating them appropriately.
Last week we discussed the recent settlement of 14 lawsuits against Rite Aid. The drugstore chain and Fortune 500 company was named as a defendant in 15 wage and hour suits alleging that they improperly classified managers as exempt employees.
Rite Aid has recently faced wage and hour litigation after classifying more than 6,000 employees as "exempt" workers, meaning that they exempt from overtime pay for any hours they work over 40. 15 lawsuits were filed claiming that these workers should have been classified as "nonexempt" and eligible for overtime pay.
A California judge has denied class-action status in a lawsuit against Wet Seal, a clothing chain known for its affordable, fast-fashion take on current trends in young womenswear. The company still faces wage and hour accusations from employees who allege they faced unfair out-of-pocket expenses while working at the company, but it will be spared from a potentially huge class action suit.
In September, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law aimed at curbing pension spikes. Now public employee retirement systems are taking measures to comply with that law but many public employees are not happy.