Maybe it’s the economy. Or perhaps the laws are unclear. Or maybe employees see a big payday for themselves. Whatever the reason, wage and hour disputes have increased by 25% since 2008, according to a study by Chicago law firm Seyfarth Shaw. In the 12-month period ending last March, 7,064 were filed—and that’s a record.
The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is Washington’s enforcer of labor laws, including workers’ compensation claims, health and safety concerns, as well as pay-related rules and regulations.
To be sure, lucrative awards exist for plaintiffs with wage and hour concerns. These disputes arise from overtime pay, final paychecks, meal and break periods, etc. Where employers willfully violate Washington wage and hour laws, employees may be entitled to double damages (twice the amount sought) and have up to three years to file a claim.
Employees may want to keep an eye on what is and what isn’t appearing on paychecks. Rainbows are no longer the only way to spot a pot of gold.