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Walmart accused of misclassifying employees and wage theft

There's a saying referencing the idea of securing an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. U.S. employment and labor laws exist to ensure workers receive a minimum amount of pay and to protect workers from wage theft. Unfortunately, there are some employers who discover ways to avoid complying with wage and hour laws and who seek to cheat employees out of their hard-earned wages.

Big-box retailer Walmart isn't exactly known for its fair treatment of workers. Another example of the retailer's questionable employment practices recently came to light when a wage theft class action lawsuit was filed by several former assistant store managers.

In the lawsuit, the former Walmart employees assert they were often forced to work overtime hours and perform various types of work duties that were normally assigned to other hourly and non-exempt employees. However, despite the type of work being carried out, Walmart wasn't required to pay the assistant managers overtime due to their management titles and exempt status.

Walmart is among the most recent U.S. corporation to be accused of misclassifying employees for the sake of profits. In recent years, similar lawsuit have been filed against Lowes, Home depot, Macy's, Verizon and Nike. California's overtime laws state that "employees must be paid overtime if over half of their workload is classified as non-exempt." Currently, federal law dictates that employees who earn an annual salary of more than $23,660 are not entitled to receive overtime pay.

The current salary threshold amount was established in 1975 and reflects an amount that is deficient and out of date. While President Obama has vowed to take action to increase the salary threshold, to date, the federal government has failed to establish a new figure.

Orange County residents who have been the victims of wage theft would be wise to discuss their case with an attorney. Employers are legally required to pay non-exempt workers overtime. Additionally, even in cases where an employee is classified as exempt, he or she may be entitled to overtime pay.

Source: East Bay Express, "Walmart Sued in Alameda County For Wage Theft," Jullan Mark, April, 9, 2015

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