The number of employees filing complaints for failure to pay proper overtime wages has increased dramatically, according to the Huffington Post. The law firm Seyfarth Shaw showed that federal cases relating to misclassification of overtime-exempt employees hit an all-time record of 7,006 in 2011. For comparison, there were 1,457 cases in 1993. So far throughout 2012, 7,064 of these cases have been filed.
In another study in New York, the National Employment Law Project reported that 77 percent of low-wage workers did not receive required overtime pay despite working over 40 hours in a week. The same study found that 21 percent of workers were not receiving minimum wage for any of the hours they worked.
Last year, the Department of Labor recovered over $224 million in back wages for more than 275,000 workers, according to MSNBC.
“Many workers still have a hard time taking advantage of their legal protections,” said Jeffrey Michael Hirsch, associate professor at the University of North Carolina. “Low-wage employees, in particular, often don’t earn enough to attract attorneys, although class actions might help in some cases, so you see a lot of cases of unremedied wage theft.”
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles wage dispute attorneys