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Wage and hour disputes, settlements continue to rise

As companies downsized in the wake of one of the worst financial meltdowns in U.S. history, the employees that remained almost universally shouldered a more difficult workload.

Many Texas residents may be familiar with this practice -- people are let go, and then the employees that are still around suddenly have more work and more stress despite having to do this new workload in the same amount of time as their old workload. At the same time, rarely is there a pay increase to accompany this new reality.

To that end, lawsuits related to wage and hour disputes have done nothing but rise since 2007, when a sharp spike in the number of such disputes occurred. From then on, yearly wage and hour disputes consistently increased on an annual basis.

One thing to remember if you are considering a wage and hour dispute against your employer is that many of these disputes are settled out of court.

The amount you request in your civil lawsuit likely won't match what you actually get as a result of the settlement. But, a settlement is often the best result for some plaintiffs. The compensation garnered in the lawsuit can help them pay for expenses and living costs. At the same time, the employer usually wants to settle out of court quickly to bury the issue. They do not want bad press about their possibly-negligent practices.

Remember, there are many ways that a wage and hour issue can come up. It could be simple, such as your employer paying you the wrong amount on a paycheck or mistakenly marking you down for fewer hours. Or, it could be complex: illegal work quotas could be applied to your job, or it could be something more difficult to define, like an unrealistic level of work.

Source: Charlotte Observer, "Bank cases illustrate rise in wage-and-hour lawsuits," Andrew Dunn, Nov. 23, 2012

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