In modern American culture most people are hopelessly attached to their smartphones. If that’s not the case, the remaining few (with rare exceptions) can’t deny that they have an extremely close relationship with other technology (i.e. their computer, laptop, tablet, etc.) There are a multitude of benefits that come from living in this technological day and age, but because of smartphones and all the other beloved technology, work is bleeding into employees’ personal time.
The recession put a lot of pressure on employers to get the most of their employees. As a result, American business owners are squeezing their workers and cutting costs at the same time. One way in which many American employers are doing so is by accessing their workers after hours through all of the convenient technology that leaves employees available 24/7. Vacations are often unrecognizable as such due to the fact that contact is never severed with the employer. Many employees find it hard to differentiate between hours worked and hours off due to the easy and frequent access employers avail themselves of freely.
Experts agree that if employers had to bear the actual expense of paying for the overtime hours they are demanding, they would have actively sought a different solution such as hiring more workers during the economic recovery.
In response to the seemingly never ending after hours access provided by technology, employees are asking the courts to find a solution. It’s a changing time as courts attempt to reconcile laws that have been in place for decades with technological trends that have drastically altered the workplace landscape. Never before have employees been so irrevocably connected to their employers without break.
In 2011, there were 7,006 wage-and-hour suits filed (many of them class action suits) in federal court. This was nearly quadruple the total in the year 2000. In 2011, the Labor Department was able to recover $225 million in employee back wages. This was up 28% from the previous year. 300 wage-and-hour investigators were added in 2010 and 2011 alone which resulted in a 40% staff increase (to a total of 1,050). This was done in what was openly declared and effort to protect America’s workers.
Consider the facts and then consider your employer/employee relationship. If you feel that you are stuck in a 24/7 job with 40-hour/week pay, get in touch with the experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik today. Don’t let your smartphone take the blame.