Q: Hello, I am a deli owner and one of my employee sued me for minimum wage and overtime.
she wants us to pay $10000 for it.
However, there was an agreement on the amount of her wage because our employee wanted the paycheck in cash. We do have the recording of it, and I just wanted to know if there is anything we could do in defense.
A: An employer may not get out of legal requirements to pay minimum wage and overtime by agreement with employees.
A: Contact us at your earliest convenience. FLSA violations can be nasty, and you need a lawyer to get your through this with a minimum of pain. By way of overview -- generally, if you did not pay an hourly employee the appropriate number of hours, you can be liable for up to three times the missing amount (including overtime). Where the failure to pay was not willful (and that's another kettle of fish as to how the Government defines willful), the amount owed is two times the missing amount. Additionally, you will be responsible for all attorney fees (by statute).
There is a formulary for handling these types of cases. It appears you tried to classify someone incorrectly. Because the FLSA is a statute, you cannot "contract" out of it. Either your employee meets the definition, or he/she does not.
Give me a ring at 703-402-2723 and I'm happy to discuss. You need to nip this quickly to keep potential liability down. If you have a grounds for defense, I'm happy to discuss it -- but that is not common in most instances. Usually you get in this situation because the owner sought to keep expenses down, etc. Talk to me, and I'll see what we can do to get you out of this pickle.
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
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