When it comes to wage and hour laws in Ohio, employees enjoy a lot of protection. Employers that violate minimum wage laws can be liable for paying affected employees triple damages. In addition, they may pay attorneys’ fees and costs. Employers will try to cut corners and minimize overhead, even when it harms employees.
In Ohio and nationwide, several industries consistently rank among the worst when it comes to following wage and hour laws. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lays out most of the basic rules governing pay for employees across the United States. This includes carving out the definition of overtime and exempt vs. non-exempt employees. In large part, Ohio’s wage and hour laws mirror the FLSA, but they further clarify the various crucial rules governing employment and pay rates. When a company does not follow the FLSA and state law, they are at risk for wage and hour litigation.
So what about your job? Are they treating you fairly and following all the laws? Several industries are notorious for FLSA violation, such as:
This is a short list of some repeat offenders. While employers across the spectrum violate Ohio’s wage and hour laws, you are atc higher risk of experiencing violations if you work in one of these fields.
To get an idea of just how frequently and egregiously particular industries are depriving their employees of fair wages, we can look at the total number of cases for a given year, how many employees were affected by the violation, and the amount of back wages paid to affected employees. Let’s take a look at 2018:
As far as total dollars owed in back wages due to pay violations, the food service and construction industries lead the pack by a wide margin. About $40 million was paid out by violators in each industry. These numbers are far larger than the third worst offender by cost, the retail industry. Employers paid nearly $15 million in back wages to these employees in 2018.
As you might expect, restaurants and construction companies also had the highest number of employees affected by violations. The health care industry was close to the top in the number of employees affected as well.
To get a clearer idea of just how common wage violations are in the United States, we’ve created a visual aid. The chart below takes the same information from the table above and plots it visually. The chart displays total violations (cases) on the X-axis and the number of employees affected on the Y-axis. You can see that although retail does not have as many employees affected as construction or food services, the number of cases filed was right in between at 3,061 cases.
Keep in mind that these numbers, reported from the Department of Labor, only show finalized case of wage violations. This means that many, many more cases are currently pending. In other situations, the employee-victims do not even realize they are being taken advantage of and have not yet had their case investigated. And in some cases, the employer may not even realize they are violating the law.