Even as news of an improving economy has spurred job growth, it appears that many workers (especially low-wage workers) must fight for the wages they are entitled under law. Minnesota Public Radio recently reported that janitors for Diversified Maintenance Systems reached a settlement in a class action lawsuit filed against the company over unpaid wages.
The class, which included 250 janitors who were assigned to clean Target stores in the Twin Cities metro area, alleged that they were required to work nearly eighty hours per week, but were not paid appropriately. Under Minnesota law, hourly workers are to be paid-and-a-half for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a five-day work week.
We find this case compelling because scores of workers are unwittingly exploited by large organizations who count on workers’ ignorance about how they should be paid. It is especially prevalent among those with low-levels of education and inherent fears of losing their jobs if they complain or question the amount of money they are paid. They are also unaware of the time preparing to complete work, as well as time spent securing cleaning materials after work is completed, should be compensated.
While federal and state law require employers to post rules regarding hourly wages and employee rights, we find that many do not follow this mandate.
Through the settlement, Diversified will pay $675,000 and admit no wrongdoing. It will not be official until it is approved by the court.
In the meantime, workers with questions about whether they are entitled to overtime should contact an experienced employment law attorney.
Source: MPR.com, Target store janitors reach settlement, February 15, 2013