Undocumented Workers Are Eligible for Overtime Pay

Some employers hire illegal immigrants, believing that these individuals are either not subject to wage and hour laws or will not complain of wage and hour violations due to fear of deportation. The law is clear: undocumented immigrants working in the United States have the same rights to minimum wages and overtime as U.S. citizens, and that they may pursue lawsuits to collect unpaid wages and overtime. The FLSA protects all individuals, without regard to their immigration status.

The FLSA’s protection for illegal immigrants also protects U.S. citizens. If minimum wage and overtime laws did not apply to illegal immigrants, employers would be incentivized to hire them and pay them subminimum wages, rather than hire U.S. citizens for full wages. By recognizing that the FLSA applies to illegal immigrants, the law disincentivizes employers from hiring illegal immigrants to the disadvantage of U.S. citizens competing in the labor market and employers who do not engage in these illegal practices.

Understandably, many illegal immigrants are hesitant to bring FLSA claims against their employers due to their immigration status. However, an employee’s immigration status cannot be used as a defense to an FLSA claim, and it is illegal for an employer who is claimed to have violated the FLSA to threaten the employee with deportation. Many cases have been successfully resolved for illegal immigrants who were improperly denied minimum wages or overtime.

If you are an undocumented worker who is being taken advantage of by an employer paying subminimum wages or failing to pay overtime, we can help. Call Shavitz Law Group at (561) 447-8888 or email us at info@shavitzlaw.com to learn about your rights.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY. Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.
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Arbitration Agreement: Employers Must Provide Proof, Don’t Just Say It Exists

Many employers require employees to sign arbitration agreements which require wage disputes to be brought in arbitration instead of in court. Typically, these agreements also prohibit employees from banding together to bring their claims on a class action or collective action basis. Most often, these agreements are presented as part of voluminous onboarding paperwork and are signed by employees who do not realize they have signing them or understand the rights they are giving up. Many employees who come to us for help are surprised to learn that their employers say they signed an arbitration agreement and are virtually certain that they never saw it and never signed it.

Though the trend in the law currently favors arbitration, an arbitration agreement is just like any other contract, meaning that it cannot be enforced unless the parties actually agreed to it. Many employees and even employment lawyers take employers at face value when the employer says the employee signed the agreement, even though the employee has no recollection whatsoever of having signed. Under the law, however, an employer who wants to enforce an arbitration agreement has the burden to prove that the employee agreed to arbitration. At Shavitz Law Group, we do not simply take the employer’s word for it, but rather, our attorneys demand that employers PROVE that a valid arbitration agreement exists. This is important because employers may not have a copy of the agreement due to sloppy recordkeeping, may not be able to prove the authenticity of an electronic acknowledgment, and because unscrupulous employers have been known to forge these agreements. In addition, the arbitration agreement must be reviewed carefully as there are numerous legal and factual defenses to arbitration which may be raised. We will evaluate whether your claim must be brought in arbitration and will challenge employers who do not meet their burden of proof.

Finally, if there is a valid agreement to arbitrate, don’t assume that is the death knell of your case. Shavitz Law Group routinely represents employees in arbitration proceedings, and employers who have violated the law as to many employees often quickly realize that the expenses and burdens associated with defending multiple arbitrations can far exceed the cost to defend class action claims in court. There are several recent examples of large companies facing numerous arbitrations having to pay millions of dollars just to get in the door of arbitration forums, and thereafter asking to be let out of the very agreements they drafted and required their employees to sign.
If you were denied wages and signed an arbitration agreement or are unsure whether you signed one, please contact us at (800) 616-4000 for a free consultation.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY. Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.
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Automatic Meal Deductions Lead to Automatic Wage Violations

Many workers are surprised to learn that federal law does not require employers to provide meal breaks. Although not required under federal law, the law of many states mandate that meal breaks be provided — requirements that most employers adhere to by providing 30 or 60 minutes for daily meal breaks.

While an employer is not required to pay hourly employees for the time they are on their meal break, if the meal break is unpaid, the employee must be able to take the break without interruption and be fully relieved of all job-related duties. If you are required to sit at your desk while you eat in case the phone rings, interrupted with questions from other employees or supervisors, answer work-related emails while eating your lunch, or otherwise perform work during your break, you must be paid for the entire meal break.

Many employers have policies that require employees to clock out for a pre-determined amount of time each day for a meal break, or automatically deduct a pre-determined amount of time each day from employees’ pay. These policies, intended to save labor costs, often result in unpaid wages because they fail to account for the demands of the job that prevent employees from taking breaks. Automatic meal deductions are particularly susceptible to resulting in unpaid hours because they do not require the employee to actively clock out for lunch, but instead, simply automatically deduct meal periods as part of the payroll process.

If made to keep working while you’re clocked out for meal breaks, or if meal breaks are automatically deducted from your pay without regard to whether you actually take those breaks, you may be owed compensation. For employees who work nine-hour shifts with a one-hour meal period, time spent performing work duties during unpaid lunch breaks is overtime that must be paid at time and a half. Shavitz Law Group is here to help. We can help you recover unpaid wages (if applicable) associated with missed meal breaks. The law requires employers who violate federal wage law to pay the employees attorneys’ fees and costs, so we can represent you without you having to pay any fees or costs at all. Call us today at (800) 616-4000 for a free consultation.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.


Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY. Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.
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