For The Injured Worker Launches New Nationwide Wage and Hour Hotline to Initially Target Florida
PR Log - Oct 20, 2012 - For the injured worker http://www.fortheinjuredworker.com/florida-wage-and-hour-... has launched a hotline for workers who have been denied their time and a half pay and have worked over a 40 hour work week. According to the social worker who oversees the hotline " We deal with injured workers and feel that unpaid wages is an injury to the worker"" These workers are not being paid their overtime wages as required by law." Florida is being targeted for the initial campaign including the cities of: Key West, Homestead, Hialeah, Miami, Miami Beach, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Port St Lucie, Melbourne, Daytona, Jacksonville, Ocala, Tampa, Clearwater, St Petersburg, Ft Myers, Naples, Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee, eventually to cover the entire state of Florida and continue nationwide.
"Florida has a huge number of health care workers who are one of the highest for lost wages due to unpaid overtime." Says Spitzer who worked as a hospital administrator for over twelve years,"Many nurses and nurses aides are asked to fill in for call ins, miss lunch breaks due to emergencies and work overtime".
The sunshine state has many physical therapists, home heath care agencies, emergency care and nurse practitioners. Registered nurses dominate the healthcare field in the state. The hotline is not only connecting callers the class action wage and hour lawyers but also, hoping to educate workers on their rights. According to Spitzer "The wage and hour lawyers we work with advise that In Florida employees who work more than 40 hours in a week are entitled to overtime pay, which is one-and-one-half times the regular rate of pay, if the employees are not exempt from pay for overtime. Overtime laws are contained in the United States Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which sets out when overtime kicks in and how much employees must be paid for working overtime. Employers who violate overtime laws have faced class action lawsuits alleging they violated laws on overtime. You are entitled to time and half for hours worked over the 40 hour work week which includes having to fill in for other emnployees."
In additon the increase in unpaid overtime has become the focus of lawsuits due to
the use of ipods, cell phones and computers increasing the hours of many employees as employers ask them to work from their home.
According to a recent article in USA Today
"Americans were pushed to their limit in the recession and its aftermath as they worked longer hours, often for the same or less pay, after businesses laid off almost 9 million employees.The spread of smartphones has tied more workers to their jobs during off hours."
The unpaid wages lawsuits are being taken over by mass tort, class action lawyers who primarily fought against large corporations for product liability cases." Says the hotline representatives
According to the Huffington Post "Last year, 7,006 wage-and-hour suits, many of them class actions, were filed in federal court, nearly quadruple the 2000 total, according to defense a law firm. Meanwhile, in fiscal 2011, the Labor Department recovered $225 million in back wages for employees, up 28% from fiscal 2010".
According to the Hotline MSW " Florida has been chosen for the first launch because of the numbers of nurses and health care providers." "The health care industry is an on call industry. Missed meal breaks are a common issue due to relief needed and medical emergencies. Your employer must provide a meal break uninterrupted by phone calls, consultations or patient emergencies. This is considered overtime and is provided for hourly paid employees and you must be paid for that time. Employers have required workers to work before or after their shifts. Additionally, home care agencies have not paid employees for travel time between home visits."
The National Campaign will include new states every month.