Employment Law: Why Be Honest If Honesty Doesn’t Pay?

Within any industry there is always a certain amount of healthy competition, the need to be the best company in the sector, to leave competitors behind, as well as to out do the competition at every possible opportunity. It is known that at times, competition can become excessive to the point where companies are indulging in illicit practices that not only undermine them as a practitioner, but also can drag down the entire ethical standings of the industry. The types of deceptive practices that are used vary, with monopoly companies seeming to take charge and attempt to prevent new players from entering the market and trying to rid the industry of the existing companies that are in direct competition. Price fixing, dumping, and typing are the most common areas, but recently the focus has been on the payment of employees.

Labor laws for overtime are strict, but they are so for a very good reason; to ensure employees receive just what they are entitled to and that they are treated fairly and are valued as a member of staff. Employers are finding new ways to get one over on the competition and this has now been to limit the amount employees are paid, in spite of the fact it has been genuinely earned by the members of staff.

By not paying employees what they are owed, companies are having tasks and deadlines completed for almost free whilst other businesses in the market are paying employees accurately so are therefore losing money. Overtime payment seems to be the area where most employers are falling down; they are either not paying employees or are simply not paying them correctly. The US Department of Labor’s wage and hour Division states that straight time for overtime as opposed to time and a half is not legal and employees must be compensated for all the hours that are worked about a 40-hour working week, including travel time and all work based duties that are fulfilled.

A flooring demolition specialist was recently found to owe $100,000 in employee wages. The US Department of Labor’s wage and hour division undertook a full investigation into the company’s records and employee payment and found that they had tampered with records and violated the accompanying overtime laws. They were forced to pay back every penny that was owed to the 24 employees and despite strong objections, the company would have gone under in an attempt to fight the claims so have since paid the compensation in full.

In recent years, it has been rare for companies to actually get caught, but legislations and governing bodies are becoming stricter in their fight for employee rights. Companies are looking to use more underhand tactics in order to remain successful within the necessary industry and to secure their future. Employees are often so grateful to be employed, especially since the recession, that they let things slide to keep their positions. Employers are finding a perfect way to save money and to remain a success in a sector by fighting off the competition, that it seems to be a win win situation for them, until they are caught.

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