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Monday, 16 June, 2014

Money Down the Drain for Employees’ Whose Expenses were Improperly Deducted

If only they’d followed the rules the first time around, Roto-Rooters wouldn’t be liable for double-damages under federal and state laws. Now they have to pay out twice the money that they owe their employees for failing to properly pay employees the minimum wage, and for requiring technicians to pay for company business expenses- including purchasing their own work vehicles, repair equipment, and parts. $14.2 million dollars worth of damages, affecting more than 4,200 employees. Sounds like Roto-Rooters has some kinks to work out when it comes to properly paying employees.

Why? In industries which don’t offer the same exact hours every week, “regular hours,” or the same dollar amounts every paycheck it can be difficult to identify subtle deductions in your weekly salaries or to calculate your proper overtime rate. Often employees put their faith in humanity and their employers- that they will do the right thing and pay hard working individuals properly. Don’t be mistaken- you may have a great relationship with your employer, but at the end of the day it’s the money and the numbers that count. Don’t assume your overtime is paid properly. If you receive additional money beyond your hourly rate, your overtime rate will go up, conversely, if expenses are deducted from your pay it does not mean your overtime rate should go down. If you need assistance calculating the deductions of your paycheck or your proper overtime rate, please send us an e-mail at

In technical terms: According the Preliminary Approval Order of Class Settlement Agreement in the case of Morangelli vs. Roto-Rooter Services Company: “The Plaintiffs in the Litigation allege that they and all other Roto-Rooter Technicians who were paid on a commission basis were not paid minimum wages and overtime premiums, and were further subject to unlawful wage deductions and kickbacks for which they sought unpaid wages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and liquidated damages under the FLSA and sixteen wage and hour laws.”

So what are my rights? Federal law requires at least the minimum wage be paid to employees “free and clear,” meaning that the employee is not required to pay for items that are “primarily for the benefit or convenience of the employer.” Many states have significant penalties if the employer fails to pay it. Moreover, if expenses are deducted, your overtime rate should not go down.

If you have any questions or would like any more information about your employment rights please visit our website at or e-mail us at

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