What Are Common Legal Problems in a Wage and Hour Lawsuit?

As the number one wage and hour attorney in Los Angeles, our team at Hershey Law is continuing in this second part article concerning wage and hour discrimination. Why? Well, beyond discrimination, most wage and hour lawsuits occur due to disputes about the fairness of an employee’s pay. This is usually unpaid overtime or wrongly paid overtime, vacation or medical leave, wage garnishment, or pregnancy leave. And, all too often, overlooked by unknowing employees who are taken advantage of. 


Wage discrimination can occur when an employee does not receive their proper wages after a wrongful termination or pay loss due to harassment or discrimination.


The most common wage and hour lawsuits include:

  • Employer’s ignoring the federal and state minimum wage requirements,
  • Incorrect classification of employees as exempt from overtime pay laws,
  • Requiring employees to work “off the clock” to attend training, meetings, etc.
  • Exempting employees from benefits due to their job title rather than job duties,
  • Withholding wages due to discrimination or retaliation.


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Who is Entitled to Wage and Hour Discrimination Protection?

The federal and state governments understand how important it is for you to have your livelihood protected as an individual employee. When employers are allowed to get away with unfair pay, rate and hour cutting, and other money-saving tactics, it has a domino effect on everyone else.


Employees who live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet often end up having to rely on government assistance. This may not happen if they were paid fairly.


Because of this and other consequences of unfair wage and hour discrimination, Title VII was instituted. This law covers all private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions that employ 15 or more people. Title VII also covers labor organizations and employment agencies, and places that enact training and apprenticeships. In short, you are most likely covered by Title VII protection, but there may be other laws that protect you as well.


The EEOC is one of the most extensive commissions that enforce equality and fairness at work. Their laws protect employees against discrimination, harassment, and unfair treatment in the workplace.


Rest assured that if your employer violated your wages, there are likely laws in place to protect you.


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What Are Your Rights if You Were a Victim of Wage and Hour Discrimination?

If you feel that you have a dispute against your employer that they have not addressed adequately once you have brought it to their attention, you can file a claim with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). The division will investigate your claim and possibly provide your employer with penalties.

However, if this is not sufficient or the WHD does not fix the problem, you can file a civil lawsuit against your employer with a wage and hour attorney. Since you will have the burden of proof to demonstrate that you were a victim of this discrimination, you should work with knowledgeable attorneys like those at Hershey Law to ensure that your claim has covered all of the necessary documentation.


Wage and hour disputes are often won or lost based on the extent of sufficient evidence. It would be best if you always kept your pay stubs, but you can also include:


  • Your time cards or work logs.
  • Tax receipts and filings.
  • Any work-related receipts.
  • Written statements from other employees who have similar or identical concerns.


Many employees delay or refuse to defend themselves. Thus continuing to face wage and hour discrimination due to their fear of employer retaliation. For example, they worry that they may lose their job or overtime potential. However, employers are federally prohibited from firing employees because they reported a workplace wage and hour dispute.


If you reported a dispute and were retaliated against, it is crucial you contact an attorney to defend your rights.


How Are Wage and Hour Claims Resolved?

Suppose the WHD cannot resolve the issue you have with your employer over your wage and hour discrimination. Chances are, you will have to take your case to court. In this instance, a successful claim usually results in damages awarded to you from your employer.

These damages will often cover the unpaid wages you never received previously. Still, they may also include additional bonuses such as the demand that the employer adjusts their payment and hour policies to comply with the law, further investigation into the company, and possibly even termination of the person who failed to comply.


Terminated employees who were retaliated against because of the dispute may also have the opportunity to regain their lost position.


Why Should You Retain a Wage and Hour Attorney?

Once you contact the WHD of the federal government, you may be able to quickly resolve the matter if it was simply an oversight or misunderstanding on your employee’s side. But if this does not work, you may face retaliation, unfair termination, or other adverse effects because of your dispute. Retaining an attorney as soon as you foresee problems negotiating a fair agreement between you and your employer, even with the WHD’s assistance, will help you to not only defend your rights but to understand what they are, to begin with.


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When you file a wage and hour claim, you will need to show substantial documentation. This often includes complete complex paperwork, and the ability to prove your case against a larger company’s defense. Your employer will likely have at least one attorney to defend themselves. When you work with a law firm like Hershey Law, you have the benefit of knowledge and experience as well as a lawyer who is looking out for your best interests.


If you were a victim of wage and hour discrimination, contact us today for a free consultation by calling 818-722-9665. As the top wage and hour attorney in L.A., Hershey Law can help you get the wages and benefits that you are entitled to and prevent your employer from continuing to discriminate against you and others in the future.