Wage and Hour Lawyers

Referring to Attorney Andrew Biller, "Plaintiffs' counsel have prosecuted many wage-and-hour claims and * * * litigation of [one of the case's issues] was, in particular, an area that required skillful wage-and-hour attorneys."

-Chief Judge Algenon Marbley, federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (Castillo v. Morales, Inc.)

Work stinks.

At least get paid for it.

 

Here's the bargain: you trade time for money. You work for someone, and they pay you for it. Seems simple enough.  

Wage and hour laws, like the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, put a floor on what you can be paid - a minimum wage and an overtime rate.

The problem is that companies keep shortchanging their workers. That's where our unpaid wage lawyers come in. When a company doesn't hold up its end of the bargain, we hold the company accountable.

 

Thankfully, the law in this area is very favorable to employees, and workers have a lot of rights. For example, employees who successfully bring an unpaid wages claim can be entitled to their unpaid wages and additional money called "liquidated damages" or just "damages." This money is paid on top of any unpaid wages the company owes.

 

As wage and hour lawyers, we represent employees against employers who break laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act, Ohio's Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act, and the Prompt Pay Act.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer to sue for unpaid wages?


We do not charge our unpaid wage clients hourly fees. Instead, we use a "contingency fee." This means that we get paid only if we get money for you. If we don't get money for you, we don't get paid. If we do succeed in recovering your unpaid wages, we get paid in two ways: 1. We get paid a percentage of what we get for you. 2. Most wage and hour laws, like the Fair Labor Standards Act, require the employer to pay your fees if you win. So, if we are able, we will collect those fees and use them to reduce the percentage you owe us (hopefully to zero).




How can I file a claim for unpaid wages?


There are basically three ways you can file a claim for unpaid wages. 1. You can do it yourself 2. You can file a claim with an agency like the Department of Labor or Ohio's Department of Commerce 3. A lawyer can file a claim for you We would never recommend the first option. The law is too complicated. To file a claim correctly and give yourself the best chance to recover the most money, you will need to navigate a complex web of federal laws (like the FLSA), federal regulations, the state equivalents, and, possibly, local ordinances. Then you will need to figure out where best to file it (a type of state court or federal court). And, once you get there, you will have to learn the Rules of Civil Procedure. Whether the second option is viable depends on the type of claim and what you are hoping to accomplish. Your best bet is to call us to discuss your options. The call to us is free, confidential, and no risk, so you have nothing to lose. If you ultimately do not want to proceed with a lawyer, that is fine.




I am paid a salary. Can I still get overtime pay?


It is a common myth that if you are paid a salary, you are automatically not entitled to overtime pay. Being paid a salary is only one part of determining whether you are owed overtime pay for working more than forty hours in a week. Your job duties will also determine whether your employer has to pay you overtime wages or whether you are "exempt" from overtime requirements. This area is complicated and relies heavily on the Fair Labor Standards Act's regulations and case law. If you have a question about whether you are entitled to overtime pay, you should definitely consult with a lawyer.




I am not owed much in unpaid wages. Is it worth it to call?


Yes! There are a few of reasons why it is worth a call to our wage lawyers. First, it is your money. Any withheld pay, no matter how much, can affect your life in a negative way. Second, the Fair Labor Standards Act and many state laws (like Ohio's Minimum Wage Constitutional Amendment) allow you to recover attorney's fees as part of any award. This means that we can take even small cases on a contingency fee basis. You do not pay us anything up front and, instead, we will aim to get paid from your employer if we are successful. Third, if this happened to you, it might have happened to others. There is a chance that you can help protect the rights of other employees by bringing a class or collective action - that's a lawsuit on behalf of yourself and similarly situated workers.




What happens if my boss retaliates against me for filing a wage claim?


Both the Fair Labor Standards Act and Ohio's minimum wage constitutional amendment prohibit an employer from retaliating against you for filing a wage claim. If the employer does decide to do something like fire you, the law allows you to potentially recover a significant amount of money. For example, Article II, Section 34a of the Ohio Constitution allows you to recover "an amount set by the state or court sufficient to compensate the employee and deter future violations, but not less than one hundred fifty dollars for each day that the violation continued." The FLSA, 29 U.S.C. 215, allows workers to recover a wide range of damages*, including the employee's attorney's fees. The FLSA also allows an employee to seek reinstatement, promotion, and the payment of lost wages. *"Damages" is a legal term that refers to the money that you can be awarded in a lawsuit. "Damages" might come from things like lost wages, other money that you lost ("compensatory damages"), emotional distress, physical harm, or, if the goal is to punish an employer or deter future violations, punitive damages.





What is "wage and hour" law?

"Wage and hour law" is lawyer-speak for for the laws that cover employment basics like:

  • the minimum wage your employer must pay you

  • the maximum hours your employer can require you to work (without paying you overtime pay)

  • how much an employer has to pay you in overtime wages

  • when your employer has to pay you and how much

  • child labor rules

  • whether the employer has to pay men and women the same wages for the same work ("pay equality")

  • whether your employer has to provide you with breaks or how the employer must accommodate breastfeeding mothers

A federal law, called the Fair Labor Standards Act, covers most of these issues. Many states also have their own wage and hour laws. For example, Ohio has a constitutional amendment (Article II, Section 34a) that covers minimum wage and the employer's duties to keep records. Ohio also has laws that cover overtime and pay day rules.

Biller & Kimble LLC's wage and hour lawyers know how to navigate federal, state, and, if needed, even local laws to get the best result for our clients.

Common Wage and Hour Violations

Under-reimbursing delivery drivers for the use of their personal cars. According to the Department of Labor's Field Operations Handbook, employers (like pizza companies) must either (1) track and reimburse their drivers actual expenses or (2) reimburse the drivers at the IRS mileage rate (about $.58/mile). Many companies ignore this rule and pay a flat delivery rate instead.

Breaking the tipping rules. The Fair Labor Standards Act has very specific rules about tipping and tip pools. For example, employers must provide a notice to employees about the rules. And, employers cannot require tipped employees (like servers or bartenders) to share tips with non-tipped workers (like managers).

Breaking overtime rules. Employers break overtime rules in too many ways to list. Some common examples include misclassifying workers as "exempt" from overtime pay when they are not, miscalculating overtime pay (especially for tipped employees), and using a "comp" or compensatory time system.

Charging employees for uniforms or other "tools of the trade." Employers have to pay wages "free and clear." This means that employers can't charge employees to work. Most employers don't charge employees money, but, instead, will force employees to buy things to work - like uniform shirts or tools. When these charges drop someone below minimum wage in a week, there can be a violation.

Withholding pay. Sometimes employers withhold pay or a paycheck. The employer might give a "reason" like "you didn't return the keys" or "you left on bad terms." There are almost no circumstances where withholding a paycheck is legal.

Misclassifying employees/independent contractors. A trend in employment law is employers classifying employees as "independent contractors." Once an employer classifies the worker in this way, the employer may treat the worker as though wage and hour laws do not apply. In many cases, however, the worker is actually an "employee." This is true even if the employee signed an "independent contractor agreement" or similar contract. A worker misclassified in this way may be owed overtime wages, minimum wages, or even reimbursement for expenses (like buying tools/uniforms or having to drive the employee's own vehicle for work).

We educate our clients about their wage rights.

Unlike many areas of the law, a lot of our clients do not know they have a wage and hour case until they talk to us.

 

If you are hit and injured by a truck, you know that you probably have a legal claim. Compare that to a pizza delivery driver who is being under-reimbursed for vehicle expenses. The driver, like most employees, trusts his or her employer to know the law and follow it.

 

Part of our job as wage and hour lawyers is to educate our clients about their minimum wage and overtime rights and their legal options. Once we've done that, our clients can make informed decisions about what they want to do. We believe our role is to empower our clients with knowledge and then advocate for our clients in the way that works for them.

If you think you might have a claim or even just have questions about a policy at your work, do not be shy. There are no stupid questions when it comes to wage and hour law - an area of law that even courts recognize is very complex. Please call our office at (513) 202-0710. The call is free and no obligation. We would be happy to discuss your situation with you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Educating our clients on their rights is part of what we do, and we love doing it.

Our philosophy is to always act as though our client is in the room with us.

So much of a lawsuit goes on behind the scenes, out of the clients' view. As a result, there is lot of opportunity for lawyers to forsake their clients' interests to get along well with the employer's lawyer. That's not us. 

We aren't looking to win any popularity contests. We are pleasant and courteous. But we are relentless in pursuing our clients' interests, whether they are with us or not, and whether our opponents like it or not.  

The courtroom is our battlefield, and we wage war for our clients.

If we were like most firms, we would put a bunch of self-serving nonsense in a section like this. But we're not like most firms. 

We could probably leave this section blank. Why? 

 

The truth is, as an employee with an unpaid wages claim, it is almost impossible for you to figure out who is the best lawyer to file your unpaid wages claim. Wage claims are notoriously complex, so few firms handle the cases at all. Even fewer do them well. And it is easy for most lawyers to sound knowledgeable to a client who does not know this area of the law.   

 

Law firms seem to say the same things: "we fight for our clients," "we care," "we are aggressive," and "we are experienced." Talk is cheap and easy to put on a website. So are most of those "awards" that firms post on their websites.

 

Because we do this work, we know who is good at it, who gets mediocre results for their clients, and who just lists "wage and hour" as a practice area on their website even though they do not have much experience in the area. But you don't know those things. How could you?

 

Here is the best we can do to help you decide: we can give you a page filled with recent case results, almost all of which are in the public record that you can verify for yourself. Compare Our Victories to other firms' claims of experience with wage and hour cases.

 

Even so, take everything a law firm says (even our firm) with a grain of salt. After all, you don't know (unless you read the pleadings) whether our $2.4 million settlement is a great result or us settling a $100 million case for pennies on the dollar. And, every case is different, so none of our victories can guarantee any particular, future result. But, still, it is something. Something we are proud to share. 

If you are an employee, and you think you might have a claim or even just have a question, please contact us at (513) 202-0710. We would be happy to discuss your options and rights. The call is free and there is no obligation.

Contact Biller & Kimble, LLC today for a free consultation.

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