Managing a workforce in Illinois can quickly become challenging on numerous levels. From having the right contracts in place to training employees on operational guidelines, running an organization is a difficult, ongoing process. Unfortunately, some employers, intentionally or not, tightly control their worker’s hours to the point that they might create a wage-hour dispute.
While every situation will likely contain numerous unique factors, there are four common ways an employer might illegally control overtime pay:
- Employee misclassification: Employers classify employees as either “exempt” or “non-exempt.” This designation hinges on numerous factors but centers on whether they are eligible for overtime pay. It is not uncommon for employers to deliberately misclassify their workers to avoid paying overtime or other benefits.
- Shift-splitting: This is a payroll adjustment that some employers will use to remove overtime hours. For example, a worker putting in a 10-hour shift should be entitled to two hours of overtime pay. The employer, though, might split that shift into two shifts, one for six hours and one for four hours, ensuring the worker gets paid for the 10 hours of work, but with no overtime.
- Multiple locations: It is not uncommon for an employer to run numerous locations. Whether these are restaurants, healthcare facilities or retail locations, careful recordkeeping is a necessity. Even if the locations are separate legal entities, the employer must pay the worker for the total hours worked. Twenty-five hours at one location and 20 hours at another equates to 45 hours on a paycheck with five hours of overtime. It is not two separate paychecks; it is one paycheck for the total time worked.
- Removal of hours: There are few ways employers could defend this as a mistake, but it is not uncommon for a company to simply remove hours from a timesheet to erase any overtime hours worked.
Even if the employer claims it was an unintentional bookkeeping error, they must be held accountable for these occurrences. Numerous laws ensuring fair treatment and fair pay protect workers in all occupations. It is crucial that workers hold employers responsible for wage-hour disputes and employees receive the pay they have earned.