Does Your Industry Violate Ohio Wage and Hour Laws?

When it comes to wage and hour laws in Ohio, employees enjoy a lot of protection. Our minimum wage will exceed the federal rate by over a dollar per hour in 2018. Employers that violate minimum wage laws can be liable for paying affected employees triple damages. In addition, they may pay attorneys’ fees and costs. Employers will try to cut corners and minimize overhead, even when it harms employees.

In Ohio and nationwide, several industries consistently rank among the worst when it comes to following wage and hour laws. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lays out most of the basic rules governing pay for employees across the United States. This includes carving out the definition of overtime and exempt vs. non-exempt employees. In large part, Ohio’s wage and hour laws mirror the FLSA, but they further clarify the various crucial rules governing employment and pay rates. When a company does not follow the FLSA and state law, they are at risk for wage and hour litigation.

So what about your job? Are they treating you fairly and following all the laws? Several industries are notorious for FLSA violation, such as:

  • Agriculture
  • Manufacturing
  • Auto Repair
  • Child Care
  • Construction
  • Food Service
  • Health Care
  • Hotel/Motel
  • Landscaping
  • Retail

This is a short list of some repeat offenders. While employers across the spectrum violate Ohio’s wage and hour laws, you are at higher risk of experiencing violations if you work in one of these fields.Wage and Hour Violations

Wage and Hour Violations on the National Level

To get an idea of just how frequently particular industries are depriving their employees of fair wages(and how much they’re avoiding paying), we can look at the total number of cases for a given year, how many employees were affected by the violation, and the amount of back wages paid to affected employees. Let’s take a look at 2016:

Wage and Hour Violations

wdt_IDIndustryCasesBack WagesEmployees
1Agriculture1,275 $ 4,844,840.9910,549
2Amusement206 $ 602,061.16967
3Apparel Manufacturing276 $ 3,883,134.972,566
4Auto Repair516 $ 4,265,192.614,650
5Child Care Services812 $ 1,640,979.693,944
6Construction3,120 $ 41,717,848.9326,866
7Food Services4,975 $ 39,754,568.9044,707
8Guard Services559 $ 5,229,747.0712,667
9Hair, Nail & Skin Care Services224 $ 562,095.61502
10Health Care1,538 $ 11,686,954.4116,697
IndustryCasesBack WagesEmployees


As far as total dollars owed in back wages due to pay violations, the restaurant and construction industries lead the pack by a wide margin. About $40 million was paid out by violators in each industry. These numbers are far larger than the third worst offender by cost, the retail industry. Employers paid over $14 million in back wages to these employees in 2016.

As you might expect, restaurants and construction companies also had the most cases and the highest number of employees affected by violations. Retail was actually close in a number of cases but fell far behind in the number of employees affected.

Visualization of Wage and Hour Violations in the United States

To get a clearer idea of just how common wage violations are in the United States, we’ve created a visual aid. The chart below takes the same information from the table above and plots it visually. The chart displays total violations (cases) and the number of employees affected. You can select either cases or employees to view a single line graph.

Cost of Labor Violations

In 2016, these oft-offending industries paid out over $143 million in back wages. Below is a chart breaking down each industry by the percentage of that 143 million they paid:


Lasting Effects of Wage and Hour Violations

Keep in mind that these numbers, reported from the Department of Labor, only show finalized case of wage violations. This means that many, many more cases are currently pending. In other situations, the employee-victims do not even realize they are being taken advantage of and have not yet had their case investigated. And in some cases, the employer may not even realize they are violating the law.