Connecticut “wage police” collect $6.5 million for workers!

The Hartford Business Journal reported today that the Connecticut Department of Labor has collected $6.5 million in unpaid wages for Connecticut workers last year.  The bulk of their work seems to regard unpaid minimum wages and public construction site workers.  Their work does not seem to include protecting the rights of workers who are misclassified as “exempt” from overtime and made to work excessive hours.

While the CTDOL plays an important role in enforcing wage laws here in Connecticut, $6.5 million in one year does not seem like much to me.  Private law firms bring class action lawsuits which result in the recovery of millions of unpaid wages, too.

Recently, a Connecticut federal judge ruled that a CAD draftsman was mis-classified as an “administrator” because he really spent most of his time doing production work, not running the company.  

In Massachusetts, a court recently ruled that Dunkin Donuts managers may not be properly classified as “executives.”  The managers worked between 48 and 60 hours without extra pay and spent 90% of their time waiting on customers (i.e., not managing).  The court was not impressed by the titles given to them. 

It seems like the burden of protecting mis-classified workers still falls on private firms.  Good luck to Lichten & Liss-Riordan when they take Dunkin Donuts to trial.