If it were not for the law, employees would be taken advantage of by their employers in an attempt to reap larger gains and expand their businesses. Yet, employment law exists, in large part, to ensure workers are afforded the protections they deserve. Some of these regulations pertain to one's working environment, while others deal with wages and hours. To see just how effective these laws can be, one need only look at one recent case against multi-media giant Disney.
There, a lawsuit alleged that Disney wrongly withdrew money from employee's paychecks to cover the cost of their costumes. These deductions left many employees, more than 16,000, making less than the federally mandated minimum wage. Making such deductions, while not necessarily illegal, are illegal when they force an individual's pay below the $7.25 per hour minimum wage. An investigation into the claim also discovered that Disney failed to keep adequate records and also failed to pay overtime wages to some employees. The lawsuit resulted in Disney paying nearly $4 million to those employees.
Unfortunately, this type of activity isn't uncommon, according to a Department of Labor official. Many employers fail to properly track their employees' hours and compensate them appropriately. This often happens when employees work set schedules, as they may be asked to work before or after their shift, and their extra time is not properly recorded.
Far too many employers get away with these tactics, as employees may fear retaliation if they speak up and seek answers. But the wage and hour laws, in addition to whistleblower protection laws, work to protect these individuals. Thus, those who feel they have been wronged by their employer should consider their legal options, as taking the appropriate action could lead to the recovery of owed compensation.
Source: Fortune, "Disney Is Going to Pay $3.8 Million to Employees Who Were Charged for Their Costumes," Jennifer Calfas, March 17, 2017