Practice Areas

Breaks

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require employers to provide their workers with breaks throughout the day, but many state and local laws do. Employers conducting business in the U.S. need to be sure they are abiding by all relevant labor laws. Most of the laws regulating breaks require employees to work a certain number of hours before they're entitled to a break, or only provide breaks to certain types of employees. You can find out more about the requirements for breaks here.

Class Actions

A class action lawsuit is when a group of plaintiffs with similar complaints against the same defendant combine their complaints into one large lawsuit. The class action lawsuit is an indispensable tool for employees whose claims against their employer might be too small to justify the costs of filing a lawsuit. By combining their claims, plaintiffs can have the opportunity to bring their grievances to court, get justice, and bring public attention to the alleged violations of their employer. Class actions also give plaintiffs leverage over companies who have much greater access to resources than their employees. You can read more about class actions and their advantages to employees here.

Commuting

Most people don't think of the time they spend commuting to and from work as time they should be paid for, and in many cases it's not. But depending on the nature of their job and the kind of commuting they do, their employer might be required to pay them for that time. You can learn more about when commuting qualifies as compensable time here.

Compensation Time Given for Overtime

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay their workers one and one-half times their normal hourly wages for all overtime worked. Some employers try any number of ways to get out of paying the premium overtime rate, including offering employees paid time off instead of paying them directly for the overtime they work. This practice violates the FLSA, as well as various state and local laws, because it cheats employees out of part of their wages. Find out more about overtime laws regulating compensation time here.

Determining Eligibility for Overtime Pay

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week and requires employers to pay their workers one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all overtime they work. But the FLSA also provides exceptions to the overtime rule so that employers are not required to pay all their workers overtime. The FLSA is very specific about the types of employees that qualify for the overtime exemption, but there are always employers who improperly classify their workers as exempt from overtime. You can read more about the requirements for the overtime exemption here.

Employee Classification Act

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides specific requirements for the types of employees that can legally be held exempt from the mandatory overtime compensation of one and one-half times their normal hourly rate. But employers continue to abuse these exemptions and misclassify employees who do not qualify - specifically, classifying workers as independent contractors when they don't meet the qualifications for independent contractors. So Illinois created the Employee Classification Act, which is a state law that clarifies when workers can be considered independent contractors and when they have to be compensated as employees. You can learn more about the Employee Classification Act here.

Employee Misclassification

Despite the fact the FLSA provides specific requirements for the types of employees who don't have to be paid the premium overtime compensation of one and one-half times their normal hourly wages, employers continue to misclassify workers as exempt from overtime and illegally deny them wages. You can find out more about the requirements for overtime exemption, as well as what to do if you think you may have been cheated out of wages here.

Employer-Mandated "Clocking Out" at 40 Hours

Digital automation has made many things in our lives easier by taking care of a task so we can focus on other things. Automatically clocking employees in and out when their shifts begin and end is another timesaver for both employers and workers, but sometimes it cheats employees out of wages. When an employer's system automatically "clocks out" workers at the ends of their shifts, even when there's still work to be done, employers can be held liable for the extra work their employers were made to do without the proper overtime compensation. You can read more about the problems with employers automatically "clocking out" their workers here.

Exempt Overtime Employees

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay most, but not all, of their workers one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all the time they spend working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. The law is very specific about the qualifications employees need to meet in order to be classified as exempt from overtime compensation. Nevertheless, there are always employers that try to cheat workers out of their hard-earned wages and some of them do this by classifying employees as exempt from overtime, even when they don't meet the qualifications. Employers often get away with this illegal practice for years because their workers don't know the qualifications for the overtime exemption, but you can learn more about those qualifications here.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The FLSA is a federal act that was signed into law in 1938 to help protect workers from employers that might try to take advantage of them. The act does this by defining things like overtime, minimum wage, and requiring employers to pay their workers a premium overtime compensation of one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all the overtime they work. You can find out more about the FLSA and the protections it offers here.

Filing an Overtime Claim

Anyone can file a claim for overtime violations, but the process involves government agencies investigating the allegations and legal arguments from both sides, which can be a very complicated process. Those with the most detailed knowledge of overtime and employment laws will have the most success in arguing their case for an overtime claim, especially when going up against a large company that likely has access to a team of experienced lawyers. In order to give your claim its best chance, you'll need an attorney on your side that knows the relevant labor laws inside and out. You can read more about how to file an overtime claim here.

Illinois Overtime Law

In addition to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), each state has their own laws protecting their workers, including Illinois. You can learn more about how Illinois Overtime law differs from the FLSA here.

Meals

The FLSA does not require employers to provide their workers with meal breaks, but some states, including Illinois, have their own labor laws that do require employers conducting business in the state to provide regular meal breaks. Find out more about the specific meal break requirements in Illinois here.

Not Clocking In & Out

A system in which employees clock in and out at the beginnings and ends of their shifts is a convenient way for employers to keep track of all the time their workers spend on the job, and by extension, how much the employees are owed in wages. But employees are often encouraged to perform work "off the clock," either before they clock in for their shift, after they've clocked out, or during meal or rest breaks. Many employees go along either because they don't know the practice is illegal, and/or they're afraid to speak up against their employer. Both federal and state governments have put laws in place to protect workers from these forms of exploitation. You can read more about employees not clocking in and out and what to do about it here.

Non-Exempt Overtime Employees

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay their workers one and one-half times their normal hourly wages for all the overtime they spend working, but the law does allow certain types of workers to be held exempt from the requirement of overtime compensation. These are known as "exempt" employees, while those who do not qualify for the overtime exemption are known as "non-exempt" workers. Unfortunately, misclassifying workers as exempt employees, even when they don't meet the requirements, is an all-too-common practice among some employers. You can learn more about non-exempt overtime employees and the laws protecting them here.

Not Paying for Travel Time

The time employees spend commuting to and from work is generally not time for which they should be paid, although there are some exceptions to that rule. However, for employees who are made to travel between locations for their job, especially during normal work hours, that travel time is time for which they should be paid. You can find out more about the situations in which employers should pay for travel time here.

Outside Sales

An employee who qualifies as an outside salesperson is not protected under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), but sometimes workers who don't qualify as outside salespeople are misclassified by their employers and denied wages and overtime compensation as a result. You can read more about the requirements for outside salespeople and what to do if you've been misclassified here.

Overtime

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week and requires employers to pay their workers one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all the overtime they spend working. Most employees in America know this, but there are many other facets to overtime law, both federal and local, that many people are unaware of. For example, many people think as long as they're paid a salary, they're not eligible for overtime, but that's not true. You can learn more about overtime law and what to do if your rights as an employee have been violated here.

Overtime FAQs

Because overtime laws can be so complicated, we get a lot of people asking us questions. You can find some of the most common questions we get (and their answers) here.

Overtime Lawsuits

When a worker suspects their employer may be cheating them out of overtime compensation, they should consult with an experienced employment attorney, such as our Illinois employment lawyers. If the attorneys think it sounds like the workers have a valid claim against their employer, they can help them file an overtime lawsuit, which you can read more about here.

Overtime Scams

There are numerous ways employers can cheat their workers out of the premium overtime compensation the law requires them to pay, and you can learn about some of them here.

Overtime Pay Guidelines

Overtime is defined as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week and the proper overtime compensation is one and one-half times the employee's regular hourly wage, but the full overtime pay guidelines are much more complicated than that and cover a wide range of employees. You can find out more about overtime pay guidelines, as well as what to do if you think your rights as an employee may have been violated, here.

Overtime and Record Keeping

In order to help make sure employers abide by the minimum wage and overtime guidelines, both federal and Illinois law require employers to keep records of all the time worked by employees, wages earned, wages paid, etc. Employers who fail to keep accurate records could face penalties, as well as possible lawsuits for violations of overtime law. You can find out more about the requirements for overtime and record keeping here.

Paid on a Salary

Many employees think that if they are paid a salary, they are not entitled to overtime compensation, but that's not necessarily true. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has detailed requirements for the necessary skill level and duties an employee must have before they can legally be held exempt from overtime compensation. You can learn more about the overtime requirements for employees paid on a salary here.

Qui Tam

Fraud happens all the time, in all industries, and even the government is not safe from people looking to get all they can. Because employees of contractors are often the first to know when something smells fishy, the government encourages them to come forward with any allegations of fraud they may have. Many workers are afraid of facing retaliation from their employer if they speak out against them, but qui tam is specifically designed to protect employees in these situations. You can read more about qui tam protections and requirements here.

Supervising Two Employees

Although the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines overtime and requires employers to pay their workers a higher wage for all overtime worked, the law does allow certain kinds of workers to be held exempt from the requirement for overtime compensation. The FLSA has three categories of workers that can qualify for overtime exempt status, one of which is the executive category. One of the requirements for fitting into this category is that an employee must be in charge of supervising at least two employees (or the equivalent of two employees). You can find out more about the other overtime requirements for workers supervising two employees here.

Tips

The laws regarding tips and tipped employees are more extensive than most people realize. They cover everything from the minimum wage a tipped employee can earn to who can participate in a tip pool. Tips allow employers to shift the burden of paying their workers onto their customers. It saves them money and allows them to keep their costs down, but sometimes employers cross the line, either to save a buck, or because they're unaware of all the laws regulating tipped employees and their income. You can learn more about the ways in which the law protects tipped employees here.

Vacation

When your employer provides paid time off as part of your compensation, you are entitled to those benefits, even after your employment with them is terminated, but some workers have a hard time getting their vacation and sick leave benefits when they stop working for an employer. You can read more about your vacation rights here.

Wage and Hour

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that protects wage and hour rights for employees all over the country. In addition to the FLSA, each state, county, and city, have their own wage and hour laws protecting the workers in their areas. Sometimes employers intentionally violate these wage and hour laws in order to keep their costs down, but sometimes they're genuinely unaware of all the wage and hour laws that apply to them and their employees. You can find out more about wage and hour laws here.

Work Off the Clock

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that the workday begins (and so employees should start getting paid) as soon as they perform their first work-related activity. This could be anything from stocking shelves to starting up their work computer and/or logging in, even if the employer requires their workers to do these things before "clocking in" for the beginning of their shift. When employees are made to perform work before clocking in or after clocking out, it's known as working off the clock and it's illegal. You can learn more about performing work off the clock here.

Arbitration

Arbitration was designed as a way for businesses to settle their disputes with each other without have to pay expensive attorneys' fees and legal costs to litigate in court. However, in recent years companies have increasingly been including arbitration agreements in their employment contracts with their workers. Contracts that require workers to settle all disputes with their employer via arbitration put workers at a severe disadvantage and are not always enforceable in a court of law. If you think you or someone you know has been forced to sign an invalid arbitration agreement, contact an Illinois overtime attorney for help today.

Non-Compete Agreements

Non-compete agreements are agreements included in employment contracts that require the employee not to work for a competitor within a certain time frame and/or geographic limit after their employment is terminated. These kinds of agreements help businesses protect their interests by preventing employees from taking their sensitive trade secrets and relationships with important clients to a competitor across the street.

But companies have gotten increasingly aggressive with their non-compete agreements, including sometimes going as far as forbidding employees from working for any competitor anywhere in the world, and requiring low-level, hourly employees without access to trade secrets or clients to sign non-compete agreements. If these agreements are too restrictive, they can seriously hinder the employee's chances of finding other work and the agreement might not hold up in court. If you think you or someone you know may have been made to sign a non-compete agreement, contact an Illinois overtime attorney today.

Discrimination Claims

Despite the enormous strides we've made in society, bias still exists in all forms against all sorts of people and one of the most harmful places it manifests is in the workplace. Both federal and state laws have been put in place to protect workers from discrimination in the workplace based on things like their race, sex, age, and national origin. If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of discrimination at work, contact an Illinois overtime attorney today.

Interns

Internships are both a source of cheap or unpaid labor for businesses and a way for those just starting their careers to get a foot in the door, gain some experience, and make some connections in their chosen industry. But because internships are often unpaid, they can act as a barrier to those who can't afford not to earn an income for any period of time.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has specific requirements an internship must meet in order to legally be an unpaid internship. The employer cannot benefit meaningfully from the work the intern does, the intern cannot do the same or similar work as an employee, and the intern must learn enough from the experience to equate with a school course. If an internship does not meet all of these requirements, then the intern is entitled to fair compensation for the work they perform.

If you think you or someone you know has been illegally denied wages while working an internship, contact an Illinois overtime attorney today.

Minimum Wage Violations

An employer can violate the minimum wage requirements in any number of ways. They can flat-out pay their workers an hourly wage that's less than the legally-required minimum rate or they can pay their workers on commission or on a per-day or per-piece basis. These are valid forms of payment so long as what the employee earns, divided by the number of hours they work, equals out to at least minimum wage. If this calculation finds that the worker is earning less than minimum wage, the employer could be held liable for minimum wage violations.

Another example of minimum wage violations is when employees are misclassified as overtime exempt when they don't meet the qualifications for exemption. If their salary is low enough and they work long enough hours, the overtime violation could also be constitute minimum wage violations.

If you think you or someone you know has been subjected to minimum wage violations, contact an Illinois overtime attorney today.

Rounding Time

When workers are paid on an hourly basis, it makes it easier for the employer to calculate their wages if they can just round off when they started and ended their shifts to the nearest hour, half hour, or quarter hour. This can benefit employees who clock in a little late, but for those who start work a few minutes early and/or leave a few minutes late, it can shave significant earnings off their paychecks over months and years of employment. If you or someone you know has been subjected to having their time rounded, contact an Illinois overtime attorney today.

Security Breaks

In order to protect their merchandise, many retailers have started checking their employees' bags before they leave at the ends of their shifts or for breaks during their shifts. At large stores and warehouses, these security checks can often result in employees waiting in line for several minutes to have their bags checked, time that cuts into their limited, unpaid breaks, and their time after their shifts that is supposed to be their own. If the employees are already working eight hours a day and/or 40 hours a week before these bag checks, the time spent waiting in line could qualify as overtime.

If you or someone you know has been subjected to unpaid security checks, contact an Illinois overtime attorney today.

Employee Job Title Misclassifications

Employee job title misclassifications happen when an employer classifies a worker's job title, rather than the worker's duties and responsibilities, as exempt from overtime. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not allow employers to classify workers as exempt based solely on their job title. Instead, the law determines whether employees can qualify for the overtime exemption based on their day-to-day responsibilities. If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of employee job title misclassification, contact an Illinois overtime attorney today.

State Wage Laws

In addition to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), each state has its own labor laws protecting all the employees who work within the state. These include minimum wage and overtime regulations that might be more or less stringent than those required by the FLSA. Employers conducting business in the U.S. need to be sure to abide by all relevant labor laws, including state wage laws, and to know that the highest minimum wage (whether that's state, city, or federal) is their effective minimum wage. In Illinois, the minimum wage is currently set at $8.25 per hour - $1 higher than the federal minimum wage. If you or someone you know has been affected by violations of state wage laws, contact an Illinois overtime attorney today.

Tip Pools

Employers sometimes require tipped workers to pool their tips together and then redistribute them so everyone receives the same amount in tips. This is legal only when all the employees included in the tip pool are the kinds of workers who would normally receive tips (servers, bartenders, bussers, etc.). Employers sometimes include non-tipped employees, such as cooks and those who work in the back, in tip pools. This practice is illegal because it depletes the tips earned by those working directly with the customers. If you or someone you know has been subjected to illegal tip pooling, contact an Illinois overtime attorney today.