Employment Law Attorneys Ohio & Nationwide

Wage & Hour Violations During the Holiday Season

Worker wrapping holiday gift

You deserve to be properly paid for all hours worked

For many employees in Ohio and across the nation, the holiday season is also the busy season. Workers in retail, logistics, and related industries often have to work overtime to meet the increased consumer demand. Additional hours should, of course, lead to bigger paychecks, but some employers violate the wage and hour laws and leave employees undercompensated for their work.

Our attorneys have extensive experience protecting workers’ rights under wage and hour laws, including addressing violations during the holiday season. If you have not been fairly paid for all hours worked, contact our law firm today. We can help.

How wage law violations occur during the holidays

Wage theft is a problem 365 days a year, but there are particular manifestations that are more common during the holidays, including:

  • Unpaid or underpaid overtime: Again, the holiday season is the busy season in many workplaces. Employers are required to pay time and a half for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek. For the purposes of wage and hour laws, each week stands alone; your employer can’t smooth out hours across workweeks or pay you in extra paid time off during other weeks.
  • Not paying for all hours worked: Employees often must pick up extra hours during the holidays, either to meet consumer demand or to cover for other employees’ vacations. The law requires employers to pay for all hours worked, regardless of the scheduled shift. That includes time spent completing paperwork, in meetings, taking inventory, and so on.
  • Deducting for breaks not taken: It’s legal for employers to deduct meal breaks of 30 minutes or more from employees’ pay, but only if the employee actually had a 30-minute break in which they were relieved of all work duties. During the holidays, it’s common for employees to work through their breaks. If so, that time should be paid.
  • Unpaid travel time: During the holidays, some employers send employees to different locations to meet shifting demand or to attend seasonal events. Your employer is required to pay you for travel time that exceeds your usual commute, as well as any travel during the workday. This can also put you into overtime territory.
  • Misclassifying workers as independent contractors: The wage and hour laws apply to all workers, including temporary and seasonal workers. However, some temporary workers brought in during the holidays are misclassified as contractors in order to avoid paying overtime and benefits. This is illegal; you’re only an independent contractor if you meet the legal criteria to be classified as a contractor.
  • Not accounting for bonuses and commissions in overtime pay: Many employees receive year-end bonuses, and for employees who are paid commissions, the holidays are often a peak time for commission earnings as well. Remember, your employer is legally required to take your commission or bonus into account when calculating your overtime rate for the week in which you received that bonus or commission.

If your rights have been violated, we can help

During the holiday busy season, it’s especially important to keep careful track of all hours worked. Don’t rely on your employer’s record-keeping. Make sure you know exactly when you started and ended each workday and whether you spent significant time working outside your usual scheduled hours. That is your time, and you should be paid for it.

It’s also important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Talking to a wage law attorney means getting answers about your rights and options. You deserve to be paid fairly for your work. If your employer violated the law, contact Nilges Draher LLC today. We can help.

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