Misclassified and underpaid while working in the US Senate cafeteria

employment lawyer wage and hour underpaid prevailing wage misclassification

Wage and hour violations can occur anywhere -- even in the U.S. Senate cafeteria. Workers there were recently found to be misclassified in the wrong positions and forced to work off the clock.

This misclassification came under the federal prevailing wage laws. The prevailing wage laws are special laws that apply when working on government projects where taxpayers are footing the bill. I used to enforce the Massachusetts prevailing wage laws, among other wage laws, and have recouped wages in cases involving underpaid mechanics, technicians and electricians on public works projects, landscapers on public construction and highway projects, HVAC and control technicians working in public schools, libraries and other public sites, among others.

Generally, when someone is misclassified under the prevailing wage laws, they are not paid the appropriate hourly rate for his or her work and thus end up underpaid at the end of the pay period or project. Sometimes this can go on for quite lengthy periods of time. (There are other types of misclassification, however, not covered here.)

These Senate cafeteria workers were also being forced to work off the clock, which in my experience can be particularly common in restaurant and food service work.

If you have questions around misclassification, the wage laws or other workplace issue, contact me for an employment law consultation to talk through your particular situation.

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