Has it become illegal to assign “too much work”? The recession has brought on the practice of abuse by the employer to the employee. Due to the scarcity of jobs, employers have resorted to the practice of requiring more and more work to be done in the allotted amount of time.
As recent court cases have shown, many exempt and nonexempt employees are having to put in more time during the day in order to keep up the responsibilities that have been placed upon them.
Using the Fair Labor Standard Act as a guideline, many employees have felt unspoken pressure by their supervisors to put in many unpaid hours, simply to keep up with their workload. These hours are not paid, and they feel that this is unfair.
In a recent class action suit by employees with a Verizon call center, employees put in unpaid time before shifts and during their unpaid lunch break in order to perform to the satisfaction of management and accomplish all the work given to them.
While Verizon argued that it did not condone “off the clock” work, making it disallowed by company policy, a judge ruled in favor of the employees, The evidence showed that all of their tasks could not be completed within their given shift. (Jennings, et al., v. Verizon, No. 12-00293, DC MN)
However, with the advent of teleworking, blackberries and iphones, many employees find they are bound to their employer for much longer than their eight hour day, with work often intruding on personal and family time.
Employers argue that the FLSA of 1935 is outmoded and that the law has not kept up with the contemporary workplace. They are changing the way they have always done business in order to get around the unpaid overtime laws, especially with exempt workers.
More and more companies are reclassifying previously salaried workers to hourly earners. This is met with consternation of most professionals that have now been required to punch a clock. Such strategy allows employers to pay a lower hourly wage while anticipating necessary overtime.
The cost of living has not gone down at all in the last decade, but wages have stagnated. Women have risen significantly in the last 30 years, but that is because they entered into the workforce within this time.
Men and women with a degree have experienced little increase in salary in the last decade.
With more and more living wage jobs being sent overseas to be filled by those with lower wage expectations, how is the American worker to make a decent living?