Home Accounting & PayrollOvertime & Wages Common Overtime Violators by Industry

Common Overtime Violators by Industry

by Peggy Emch

Overtime violations fit into a category called wage theft. And the thieves are, in this case, not the poor or needy, but the more fortunate business owners. While they would hardly call themselves thieves, they essentially steal wages from the poor and the needy: their low-wage employees. Sometimes business owners and managers do this by accident but most of the time they are trying to cut corners and save money by either:

  • Withholding overtime
  • Making employees work off the clock
  • Tip withholding
  • Paying employees under the minimum wage

According to a report from the University of California, overtime violations are a big problem. The authors state that,

“Over a quarter of our respondents worked more than 40 hours during the previous week. Of those, 76 percent were not paid the legally required overtime rate by their employers. “

According to the same report, the overtime violations rate by industry are as follows:

Personal & Repair Services – 91.8%
Private households – 88.6%
Retail and & Drug Stores – 83.4%
Home Health Care – 73.6%
Apparel & Textile Manufacturing – 71%
Residential Construction – 70.5%
Restaurant & Hotels – 69.7%
Grocery Stores – 65%
Security, Building & Grounds Services – 62.6%
Food & Furniture manufacturing, Transportation, & Warehousing – 51.9%

Overtime Violations in Health Care

Overtime violations are such an issue in this industry that the DOL has compiled a fact sheet detailing all the instances which are commonly violated.

Overtime Violations in Restaurants and Hotels

Restaurants and hotels are one of the biggest wage and hour violators. These lawsuits are constantly in the news. Employers allege that they are not paid overtime, work off the clock, and find hours removed from their time cards. McDonald’s is the most recent case in the news with workers filing seven class action lawsuits in Michigan and California.

In California recently, the hotels, Miracle Springs Resort and Spa of Desert Hot Springs, were fined $60,000 in back wages. In Florida, a similar resort was prosecuted for some pretty ugly practices. Safety Harbor Resort and Spa paid $31,000 in back wages after managers were caught for changing time records, removing hours, and deducting meal breaks.

Overtime Violations in Cleaning Contractors and Janitorial Services

Maids, housekeepers, and janitors are frequently the victim of wage and hour violations with minimum wage violations being the highest. There are many reports of lawsuits against companies who employee cleaning personnel. Here are a few examples:

Massachusetts cleaning contractor ordered to pay more than $1 million in unpaid wages

Ross Sued For Overtime Violations By “Independent Contractor” Janitorial Staff

US Labor Department recovers more than $277,000 in back wages for 233 janitorial service employees at New Orleans Convention Center, other sites

Metro Clean in Houston to pay more than $273,000 in minimum wage and overtime back wages to 266 janitors following US Labor Department investigation

Know the Laws and Protect Yourself From Lawsuits

We write about overtime violations a lot. It’s easy to get yourself into trouble if you don’t know the laws and, since we know overtime like the backs of our hands, we think it’s our responsibility to inform you.

Here are a couple of past posts detailing what you need to know to protect your business and employees:

Protect Yourself From Overtime Lawsuits

Q&A Overtime Violations

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Business Math Series – Calculating Overtime By Hand | Small Business Tips and Tools April 29, 2014 - 1:02 pm

[…] time they work over 40 hours, and if a company doesn’t know and follow all of those rules, overtime lawsuits often […]


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