Investigations

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Current Chicago, Illinois, and Nationwide Investigations

Werman Salas P.C., is investigating certain employment practices that may violate federal and state minimum wage laws, overtime laws and other employment laws regulating the payment of wages and benefits to employees. If you believe you have been a victim of unfair or illegal pay practices, contact the attorneys at our firm. We can help.

Some of our current investigations include:

Tipped Employees

The rules and laws governing the payment of minimum wage and overtime pay of “tipped employees” are complicated and often incorrectly applied by employers and restaurants. If you are tipped employee and are subjected to the following practices, we would like to talk to you and investigate whether you have properly been paid all the minimum wages, overtime pay, and other wages you earned.

  • You are paid a tip credit rate (i.e., an amount less than the minimum wage), but are not allowed to keep or retain all your own tips;
  • Supervisors, Managers and/or other non-tipped employees (like chefs, cooks or expeditors) participate in the tip pool or share in your tips;
  • You perform non-tipped work for which you are paid the tip credit wage rate. Or, you are paid a tip credit rate of pay but more than twenty percent (20%) of your time is spent performing non-tipped work or non-tipped job duties, like attend meetings, washing dishes, or opening or closing the restaurant during which time it is impossible to earn tips. Stated another way, you perform too much non-tipped work;
  • You are charged or have deducted from your wages or tips breakage or “walk-off” charges”
  • You are charged from your tips or wages an unreasonably high cost of customer credit card charges

Werman Salas P.C. has recovered millions of dollars for tipped employees. If you are have questions about how you are being paid as a tipped employee, please contact Werman Salas P.C.

H-1B Tech Workers

We are investigating claims on behalf of non-United States citizens working in technology or information technology jobs in United States and whose employers have violated or breached employment agreements, committed visa fraud, and violated United States labor laws. Some alleged violations of United States labor and immigration laws include:
1. Charging assessments and certain fees for visa applications, recruitment, and other charges never disclosed or in breach of the employment agreement;
2. Failure to provide overtime compensation, meal breaks, or rest breaks in accordance with state and federal law;
3. Improper deductions of pay;
4. Failure to pay the amount promised in employment contracts, or H1-B or L-1 visa applications;
5. Failure to pay the amount listed in the H-1B or L-1 visa; and
6. Bringing workers to the U.S. on temporary 1B visas and failing to pay them salaries U.S. workers earn in the same positions.

If you are a H-1B worker and feel your rights have been violated, please contact Werman Salas P.C.

Illegal Criminal Background Checks

Many employers violate federal (the Fair Credit Reporting Act) and state laws by denying jobs to people based on information in their background checks. If you have been denied a job, a promotion, or fired because of a background check or credit report obtained by your employer, or merely subjected to an intrusive background check, you may be entitled to money damages. Employers that use background checks to make hiring decisions, or use them to take adverse actions against an applicant or employee, must follow strict rules under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Applicants and employees must consent to the background check in writing; and must be provided with a stand-alone disclosure which does not include a liability release. Employers who violate these rules can be required to pay actual damages, punitive damages, and statutory penalties of up to $1,000 per violation. Further, before an employer can deny employment or fire someone based on a background check, the employer must provide the applicant or employee with a copy of the report they intend to rely on; and must tell the applicant or employee they intend to take adverse action based on the background check report and give the applicant or employee reasonable time to dispute the report. If an employer ran a background check on you without your permission, or took adverse action against you without giving you a copy of the report and time to dispute it, you may be able to sue the employer for money damages.

If you are believe you have been subjected to an illegal background check, please contact Werman Salas P.C.

Oilfield and Gas Workers

Violation of federal and state overtime laws are rampant in the oil and gas industry. Oil and gas industry employers in Wyoming, North Dakota, Texas, Louisiana Pennsylvania and in states and counties where fracking is conducted often fail to pay employees overtime pay required by the Fair Labor Standards Act and other laws. Employers often violate the law by:

  • Paying oilfield workers a day rate, with no overtime pay, even though these employees usually work more than 40 hours a week. Paying a day rate, regardless of the number of overtime hours worked, generally violates the law.
  • Paying oilfield workers salary, with no overtime pay for time worked over 40 hours a week. An employee’s job duties, and not the salary determine if overtime must be paid. If you worked more than 40 hours a week, you may be owed overtime even if you were paid a salary.
  • Misclassifying oilfield workers as independent contractors to avoid paying overtime pay.
  • Not paying oilfield workers for all time worked. All work must be paid, including time cleaning safety equipment, set up time, and possibly driving to and from the job site.
  • Oftentimes, oil and gas companies avoid paying overtime by paying per diems and/or truck pay, instead of time and half for hours worked over 40 hours each week.

If you are an oilfield or gas worker, contact Werman Salas P.C. We will recover your owed wages anywhere in the United States.

Underwriters and Loan Processors

If you were employed by a Financial Institution as an underwriter, loan processor or other similar position, were allowed to work more than 40 hours in a week in at least one week, and were not overtime pay, you might be owed substantial compensation. Your job duties, not job title, determine whether you are entitled to overtime pay and eligible to recover back wages. Generally, if you worked for a Financial Institutions and had the primary job duty of approving loans, deciding whether to issue loans to applicants and/or reviewing loan applications under credit guides and approving loans if they meet standards, you are likely entitled to overtime pay, even if you were paid on a salary basis.

If you are an underwriter or work for a Financial Institution and have not been paid overtime pay, contact Werman Salas P.C.

Misclassified Independent Contractors

Many persons are incorrectly and illegally classified as “independent contractors” by their employers. Certain employers classify their employees as independent contractors to avoid paying employees minimum wage, overtime pay and other benefits, including workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, vacation pay, holiday pay and health insurance. Just because your employer does not withhold payroll taxes from your wages, or issues you a Form 1099 instead of a Form W-2 for tax purposes, it does not mean that you are properly considered an independent contractor. Courts look at several factors to determine whether an employee has been wrongly classified as an independent contractor. Some of these factors are:

  • Whether the employer controls or has the right to control your work, when you perform your work, and the manner and method in which you perform the work
  • Whether the working relationship is permanent
  • The degree of skill required to perform the work
  • The degree to which your services are an integral part of the business

Some industries that have misclassified employees as independent contractors include cable television installation companies, janitorial companies and contractors, and construction companies.

If you have been classified as an independent contractor, please contact Werman Salas P.C., to discuss whether you are entitled to employment benefits, including overtime pay.

Assistant Managers/Shift Supervisors

Many employees are incorrectly classified as exempt from overtime pay because they have been assigned the job title of “manager” or “supervisor.” This is not the law. Your job title does not determine whether you are entitled to overtime pay. Instead, your job duties are what matter. Some employers give employees job titles such as “assistant manager” or “shift supervisor” in order to mislead employees into believing that they are not eligible to receive overtime pay. In order to be exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA, however, you must be paid a salary and supervision must be your primary job duty. You must, among other things, supervise at least two employees a minimum of 80 hours per week. If you are an assistant manager or shift supervisor and do not supervise two or more employees on a full-time basis, do not have the authority to hire or fire employees, or if you spend the majority of your time performing the same duties as the employees you supervise, you may be entitled to receive overtime pay.

If you believe that you might be misclassified as an exempt supervisory or executive employee, please contact Werman Salas P.C.

Field Engineers and Service Technicians

Certain companies, including many telecommunications companies (e.g., Lucent, T-Mobile, AT&T, SBC, and other IT companies) employ “field engineers” and service technicians who perform job duties such as equipment installation. The work performed by these kinds of employees is primarily manual labor and sometimes customer service. As a general rule, field engineers and service technicians who perform these types of job duties are generally entitled to overtime pay.

If you are employed as field engineer or service technician and have questions about whether you are entitled to overtime pay, please contact Werman Salas P.C.

Computer/IT Employees

Many employers consider any employee whose primary job duty is working with computers to be exempt from the overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). That is not correct. The majority of computer employees and persons employed in computer-related professions must be paid overtime under law. In order to be classified as exempt, a computer employee must:

  • Be paid at least $23.63 per hour.
  • Be paid a salary of $455 per week.

In addition to these pay requirements, a computer employee must also work as a software engineer, computer programmer, systems analyst or some other similar job, to be exempt from the overtime pay provisions of the law.

If you work with computers and are not paid overtime pay, please contact Werman Salas P.C.

Drivers of Vehicles Under 10,000 lbs

Are you a truck driver or do you drive some other vehicle as part of your job duties? Previously, drivers were generally not covered by the overtime pay laws. On August 10, 2005, Congress changed the overtime law for drivers of vehicles with a Vehicle Gross Weight Rating of 10,000 lbs or less. Thanks to these changes, these drivers are now covered by the federal overtime law. This change in the law will have a very significant impact for several route delivery drivers, including:

  • Commercial food delivery drivers
  • Newspaper route drivers
  • Repair persons who carry parts that originated out of state

Please contact Werman Salas P.C., if you drive a truck that weighs less than 10,000 lbs and are not paid overtime pay.

Call Center Workers

Do you work in a call center? Are you paid for all the time that you work each day? Often, employees who work in call centers are paid only for their scheduled shifts, such as 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., and are not paid for all the time they are required to be at their work stations, are not paid for all time they spend on calls with customers, or are not paid for all work time, including the time it takes for boot-up computers in the morning at the start of the workshift. The law requires that call center employees be paid for all the time they work, including overtime pay.

If you are employed in a call center and have questions about how you are paid, please contact Werman Salas P.C..

Vacation Pay Claims

Many companies use vacation policies that result in the forfeiture of earned vacation pay upon the termination of employment. For example, if you are terminated “for cause,” you lose the vacation pay that you earned and accrued prior to being fired. Other vacation policies require you to work a certain amount of hours in the calendar year, and be employed on a certain date, in order to be entitled to your “vacation benefit.” These kinds of vacation policies may violate state law and result in an unlawful forfeiture of your earned vacation pay.

Werman Salas P.C. has recovered millions of dollars in owed vacation pay, including the largest vacation pay settlement in Illinois history, $11,000,000.

If you have lost your vacation pay under this kind of vacation policy, or some other vacation policy, please contact Werman Salas P.C.

Maritime Workers

Many barge and shipping companies operating on Lake Michigan, the Great Lakes, and river systems incorrectly classify employees as not being covered by state and federal overtime laws. If you are a shipyard worker, a dock worker, and other maritime employee, or if you are classified as a “Seaman,” you may have been mistakenly denied overtime pay. If you are such an employee, you should contact Werman Salas P.C. to discuss whether you owed back wages.

Temporary Employees

Temporary staffing companies often do not pay their workers all their earned wages. Often, temporary workers are assigned to work at a third-party client company that does not report to the staffing company all the time the employee worked. The fewer hours reported by the third-party client company, the less money they pay to the staffing company. As a result, there is great incentive to under-report the time worked by temporary workers. Because many temporary workers are paid minimum wages, the failure to be paid for all time worked means such employees are not paid minimum wages. In addition, the failure to be paid for all time worked also results in not being paid all earned overtime pay and other earned wages.

Another common scheme is when an employee works at third-party client company A for 30 hours in a week, and third-party client company B for 20 hours in the same work week. Oftentimes, the temporary staffing company will pay the employee in two checks: one for 30 hours and one for 20 hours – all at the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay. In this example, however, the law requires that the employee be paid 40 hours of straight-time pay and 10 hours of overtime wages.

Also, temporary employees often are not paid all their earned and accrued vacation time when their employment is terminated. For example, some temporary staffing companies maintain policies which require employees to work a certain number of hours in a calendar year, and be employed in December of that same year, in order to receive vacation pay. Depending on the state in which you work, such a vacation policy may be unlawful. These policies have been found to be unlawful in Illinois, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

If you are a temporary worker and have been subjected to any of these practices, please contact Werman Salas P.C.

Robo Calls & Unsolicited Text Messages

Have you received unwanted text messages or unwanted calls on your cellular phone? The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 (47 USC §227) and other related laws prohibit businesses from advertising through unsolicited text messages or unwanted phone calls to your cellular phone. These advertisements are also known as “spam text,” “spam text messages,” “mobile spam,” “wireless spam,” “mspam,” “robo calls,” “nuisance calls” or “unsolicited calls.” The TCPA allows private actions by persons subjected to the prohibited conduct and authorizes recovery of up to $500 per violation or $1,500 if the violation was willful or knowing. If you have received such unwanted text messages or unwanted cellular phones, contact Werman Salas P.C.

Contact an Overtime Law Violations Attorney

Werman Salas P.C. represents persons in Cook County, Illinois, everywhere else in Illinois, and represents employees with overtime pay claims and FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) cases throughout the U.S. including the states and cities of Oakland, California CA, San Francisco California CA, Seattle Washington WA, Gary Indiana IN, Milwaukee Wisconsin WI, New York NY, New Jersey NJ, Miami Florida FL, Atlanta Georgia GA, Alabama AL, Arkansas AR, Mississippi MS, Louisiana LA, Oklahoma OK, Washington WA, Kentucky KY, Massachusetts MA, Connecticut CT, Maine ME, New Hampshire NH, Los Angeles California CA, Dallas DFW, San Antonio, Austin Texas TX , Chicago Illinois IL, Denver Colorado CO, Oregon OR, Ohio OH, New York NY, New Jersey NJ, Miami Florida FL, Atlanta Georgia GA, Alabama AL, Arkansas AR, Mississippi MS, Louisiana LA, Oklahoma OK, Washington WA, Kentucky KY, Massachusetts MA, Connecticut CT, Maine ME, New Hampshire NH, Albuquerque New Mexico NM, Las Vegas Nevada NV, Iowa IA, Hawaii Hi and Alaska AK. If you have questions regarding our current investigations, contact Werman Salas P.C. to learn more about your rights. Prospective clients can schedule an appointment by calling 877-419-1008 or by filling out our contact form.