Both the federal government and the state of Illinois have numerous laws in place to prevent employers from taking advantage of employees. These laws cover minimum wage, overtime pay, child labor laws, definitions of exempt and non-exempt employees, and more. When someone makes allegations of wage wrongdoing against the employer, the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) will investigate. If the department finds the allegations are true, the employer can face harsh financial penalties.
Overtime Pay Requirements
Bothe the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Illinois Minimum Wage Law (IMWL) address wage issues for employees. While the FLSA has set the minimum wage at $7.25 per hour, the state’s minimum wage is currently at $12.00 per hour for workers 18 years of age or older. Under the FLSA, the Illinois rate is the prevailing rate for Illinois workers.
This wage is for those employees who work 40 hours or less in a single workweek. This workweek is set by the employer, must be seven consecutive 24-hour periods, and is fixed to be the same every week, although it is not required to coincide with the calendar week. For example, some employers will follow a Sunday through Saturday workweek, while others may follow a Monday through Sunday workweek.
Overtime wages must be paid after 40 hours of work per week at 1.5 times the regular rate. For instance, an employee who is paid $12.00 per hour would earn $18.00 per hour for their overtime rate. It is also illegal for an employer to demand an employee work overtime in exchange for benefits instead of overtime wages, such as paying the employee with paid time off instead. This is referred to as compensatory or comp pay.
Even under the law, exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay. The majority of exempt employees are paid weekly, monthly, or annual salaries as opposed to non-exempt employees who are paid by the hour. An employer could get in legal trouble, however, if they try to designate an employee as exempt in order to avoid paying overtime when that employee actually fits the non-exempt employee criteria.
Non-exempt employees who are forced to work overtime without overtime pay may be able to file a claim against their employer with the IDOL. Under the FLSA, an employer who is found guilty of intentionally refusing to pay overtime pay can be forced to pay the employee double the amount of owed overtime pay, plus legal fees. Under the IMWL, the employer could also be forced to pay the employee an additional amount in damages – 2 percent of the overtime wages owed.
Call an Illinois Agency Defense Attorney Today
If an employee has made allegations against your company, do not delay in contacting a seasoned Chicago, IL FLSA attorney for legal assistance. Call Williams & Nickl, LLC at 312-335-9470 to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out what legal options you have to defend against these charges.