In a follow-up to a Tennessee Law Blog’s wage and hour reporting last July (Unpaid Wages and Unrecorded Hours Subject of Local Nashville, TN Car Wash Lawsuit), I and my fellow TN employment attorneys at the Higgins Firm are glad to announce a $130,000 settlement between Shur-Brite Hi-Speed Car Wash and 120 of its current and former Tennessee wage employees.
Shur-Brite, which has operated in Tennessee for three decades, recently got into trouble with federal law on their wage and hour practices. Allegations included various violations of workplace law, but the main abuse was time card violations. Workers were forced to clock out when they were not actively working. As Tennessee Law Blog previously reported:
… the wage and hour lawsuit alleges that Shur-Brite High Speed Car Wash owners knowingly, and illegally, forced employees to clock out when there were no cars to wash… [On] slow days, workers would be forced to clock out as often as ten times during the day. Many workers would be at the car wash site for over 40 hours a week but only get paid for 15 at Tennessee’s minimum wage of $5.85 an hour. Some workers put in twelve-hour days hoping to get paid for eight. Many times it was unclear to workers whether they were on or off the clock …
If an employer pays a wage, then that wage must apply for the time worked. Work is not simply the active performance of duties, as one California wage and hour lawsuit against Costco is teaching managers who would force workers to clock out before they were free to leave.
If your employer requires that you remain on premises or take a mandatory training, these hours must be recorded and count towards overtime. You have the right to be paid for the time you work, and federal and Tennessee employment law offers means of recovering unpaid wages. National and state employment laws overrule most verbal or written agreements you may have made with your Tennessee employer regarding wages and overtime. In other words, just because you agree to not be paid overtime does not mean that your employer is freed from accurately recording your hours or paying you for overtime.
Unfair wage payments and timecard abuses against employees often occur against those who are the most desperate and needy. This is because these employers feel they can pay unfair wages to employees who are most need a fair wage. Fortunately, a Tennessee lawyer can often keep confidential clients’ reports of workplace abuses or bring together multiple workers at a store, factory, or other business in a class action wage and hour lawsuit.
If your Kentucky, Georgia, or Tennessee employer frequently changes your schedule to prevent paying you overtime or does not pay you for time that you are required to be on-site, then you should speak with a Higgins Firm wage and hour attorney about a possible wage and hour lawsuit. Typical settlement and court awards include backpay for unpaid wages, including overtime, liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees. Filing a wage and hour lawsuit with a qualified employment law attorney can help correct many unfair workplace practices and help prevent retaliation.