Today, Reuters reported that in 2013, there was a substantial increase in the number of wage claims filed by employees in both state and federal courts throughout the United States. According to the report, wage lawyers at Seyfarth Shaw predict that the trend will continue in 2014. According to Reuters, there has been a discernible shift away from discrimination claims toward wage claims:
As courts and judges grappled also with recent precedent-setting Supreme Court decisions on class actions, Seyfarth Shaw’s 803-page study, issued on Tuesday, found that plaintiffs last year filed 7,882 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) wage-and-hour cases in federal courts, up from 7,672 cases in 2012.
The report inaccurately and offensively blames plaintiffs’ employment lawyers for the increase. In reality, the increase in claims is a reflection of a variety of factors, including: (a) expansion of the statute of limitations for FLSA claims from two to three years; (b) broadening of wage-protection provisions under state and local wage laws; and (c) attempts by employers to minimize their labor costs by misclassifying workers as “exempt” from overtime laws. Plainly, unlawful conduct on the part of employers is the single most significant factor in the filing of wage claims.
According to the Federal Judicial Center, federal courts in New York have experienced the highest growth rate of wage claims in the nation. The New York wage lawyers at Rapaport Law Firm represent New York employees in wage and overtime claims against retailers, banks, restaurants, hotels, car washes, and other businesses.