Workers are protected from violations of wage and hour laws by both Arizona state law and federal law. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 is the federal statute which sets standards for minimum wage and overtime pay, along with other employment related issues. These standards govern employees in both the private sector and in federal, state and local government roles. The FLSA laws apply to covered, nonexempt workers who are designated as “employees” under the FLSA. Many states have minimum wage standards that are higher than those mandated under the FLSA. In these cases, the higher rate applies to the employee. Similarly, some states have independent overtime laws. The rate that is higher between the federal and state overtime rates applies to employees.

Filing a Collective Action under Federal Law

In many cases, wage and hour violations in companies are likely to impact more than one employee. Wage and hour disputes are typically filed as collective actions since multiple claims brought together allow claimants to share costs and generate a more substantial award. The FLSA requires that employees who have suffered violations under the FLSA file lawsuits in a single action, known as a collective action. The FLSA sets forth specific remedies for aggrieved employees including the recovery of unpaid wages, liquidated damages and attorneys’ fees. Employees must actively “opt-in” to collective actions by completing the relevant form. In contrast, regular federal class action lawsuits include participants of the class by default. These individuals must affirmatively “opt-out” if they do not wish to participate in the class action. Employees should consult an attorney if they believe their employer has engaged in violations of federal labor laws.

State Law Actions

Many states have legal protections for employees who are not exempted under the law. Most employees in Arizona must be paid at least twice per month and no more than 16 days apart. Paychecks should be issued on regularly scheduled workdays. Employers must also pay at least 1 ½ times regular pay for an employee’s overtime hours exceeding 40 hours per work week in accordance with federal law. In addition, Arizona enacted new employment laws that took effect on January 1, 2017. The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act authorizes increases to the minimum wage, and provides other workplace benefits, such as mandatory paid sick leave. Employees who have suffered violations of state wage and hour laws may bring lawsuits in Arizona in the form of class action lawsuits for breaches of any of these or other employee related state laws.

Chernoff Law handles business and employment litigation matters throughout Arizona. Contact us by calling 480-719-7307 to discuss your legal matter.

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