Trying to Get Staffers to Work Off-the-Clock Backfires Big Time; Company Pays $3.1 Million Settlement
Employees were paid by the task rather than actual time spent working
There are many models that companies can use to legally compensate workers. Some employees are paid on an hourly or salaried basis. Some people work largely for tips.
Then there’s the piece-rate compensation model. That’s when people are paid a set rate based on the amount of work they complete.
For example, a factory worker might be compensated based on the number of objects assembled in a workday.
While this practice is legal, in some instances, the piece work method can leave workers shortchanged and underpaid.
Not paid for time between tasks
For instance, mechanics who worked for Bridgestone found the piece-work method of pay to be uneven at best, and unfair at worst.
The company compensated mechanics based on a set rate attached to each task performed. That rate allotted a fixed amount of time for workers to complete each specific duty.
However, workers weren’t paid for the duties that had to be carried out between repair jobs, such as prepping and cleaning up their work areas. They also weren’t paid for lag time between appointments. So if work was slow, mechanics’ hourly rates became significantly diluted.
Bridgestone employees in four locations decided to sue the company. Their cases were eventually consolidated into one class-action lawsuit on behalf of 2700 mechanics who had worked the company.
The lawsuit alleged that the company violated state labor law and the Fair Labor Standards Act by forcing employees to work off the clock. The workers also claimed that the company’s calculations for the time that repairs and service should take failed to account for jobs that frequently ran over the allotted time limit.
Rather than try to defend its actions in court, the company decided to settle. It paid $3.125 million to settle the case.
(You can read more about the Bridgestone settlement here.)
You are entitled to a fair wage
Remember, no matter what compensation model your company uses, you are always entitled to a fair wage. If your paycheck often equals an amount less than minimum wage per hour worked, or if you’ve been unfairly compensated in another way, it’s best to speak to an attorney.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (267) 273-1054 for a free consultation.