Madison Equities, one of the largest property owners in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, is facing unpaid wage lawsuits filed by a union that represents a wide variety of employees, including security guards, janitors, and window washers.
Did Madison Equities Fail To Pay Overtime To Employees?
According to the legal complaint filed against Madison Equities, employees allege that the company took extreme steps to avoid paying overtime. Employees claim that any hours worked over 40 hours were submitted to an entirely different company. This way, extra hours were not noted to be overtime hours and employees were not paid the correct 1 ½ time their wages for overtime work.
Not only is the company now facing a lawsuit, but the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office is also now investigating the claim. Paperwork provided by the Attorney General’s Office to Madison Equities states: “The Attorney General has reasonable grounds to believe that Madison Equities and/or the M.E. Property Companies have failed to pay their workers — including but not limited to security guards — all wages required by state and federal law, including overtime wages,”
How has Madison Equities responded to these allegations? In addition to denying the claims that they failed to pay overtime to employees, the company has also filed defamation lawsuits against the union involved called the SEIU Minnesota State Council, SEIU Local 26 and a former security guard. They have also filed a claim of retaliation against the Attorney General’s Office.
When Can An Employee Sue For Unpaid Overtime?
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), most employees in the United States are entitled to overtime pay for any hours that they work over a 40-hour week. Overtime pay is 1 ½ times an employee’s hourly wage.
Employers often find ways to get out of paying overtime. The most common wage violations include:
- Failing to track work hours properly.
- Requiring an employee to work “off the clock” and not including those hours as part off their pay.
- Misclassifying employees and telling them this makes them no longer eligible to receive overtime.
If an employee believes that they are owed overtime, there are steps that they can take to try and remedy the situation without taking legal action. First, go over the details with the employer involved – sometimes the employer isn’t actively trying to take advantage of a situation and is unaware that a mistake has been made. A resolution could be reached with a simple conversation.
If no agreement can be reached, it may be time to speak with an unpaid overtime lawyer. A lawyer can review the case and determine if a legal complaint can be made. If one employee has been significantly impacted by the failure to be paid fair wages, it’s likely that others at the same company are owed back wages as well.
Can An Employer Fire An Employee For Fighting For Unpaid Wages?
Technically speaking, an employer cannot fire an employee for seeking payment of unpaid wages. Under the FLSA, firing an employee for taking legal action that seeks unpaid wages is retaliation and is forbidden.
However, that doesn’t mean that an employer won’t find another reason to fire an employee since employment is “at-will” in the United States.
Learn More About Your Legal Right To Be Paid Fair Wages
You always have the right to seek legal counsel. At Wage Advocates, our legal team offers free consultations. During this consultation, we will review your case and determine if you are owed unpaid wages. We will then discuss how to proceed and what you can expect during this process.
Call today to get started.