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If you’ve been thinking that you’re probably not getting paid what you’re worth, a new report from the Economic Policy Institute might make you feel validated…or even more frustrated. According to the report, 70% of the US workforce’s inflation-adjusted wages are lower than they were in 2007, with declines in wages at every pay level except the bottom 10% from mid-2013 to mid-2014.

Perhaps the number that will stick out most to middle-class earners (those between the 20th and 80th percentiles) is $18,000. This is the amount of additional annual income the middle-class would have seen in 2007 if wage inequality hadn’t risen between 1979 and 2007. That means the average middle-class household in 2007 should have brought in more than $94,000 instead of the $76,451 it did.

Missing out on almost $20,000 they deserve is enough to make most people seethe, but it actually gets worse once the disparity in the increase of income at various levels is factored in. The average increase between 1979 and 2007 of 53.4% seems like a promising sign until a closer look shows how disproportionate the numbers are. Incomes in the bottom fifth increased by less than 30%, and those in the middle fifth fared even worse with an increase of less than 20%. Even those in the 80-90% range only saw an increase of 39%.

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voordeur-780395-mA Georgia state court recently dismissed a wage and hour lawsuit on the grounds that the injured parties were unable to state a claim under the Georgia Minimum Wage Law (GMWL).

In Anderson v. Southern Home Care Services, Inc., the injured parties sought to form a class action lawsuit representing all individuals employed in Georgia by the defendant from May 2004 to the present, who provide services to defendant’s clients at their residences, but who were not paid for the time spent traveling between job sites in a given day.  The defendant filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, claiming that the lawsuit was barred by Georgia’s three-year statute of limitations.

First, the court looked at the statute of limitations issue, specifically whether two similar types of litigation applied to this case.  In 2007, another group of care workers brought a lawsuit to recover unpaid wages in Geddis v. Southern Home Care, Inc.  In November of that year, the parties entered into an agreement stating that no statute of limitations on any claim under state or federal wage law would run against members of the class.  The parties eventually reached a settlement in 2011 and the case was dismissed.  Later in 2011, two of the opt-in plaintiffs in the Geddis case filed another class-action suit, and that one settled in 2012.  If the Anderson class-action lawsuit was a part of the Geddis tolling agreement, the statue of limitations would not have run, and the injured parties would not be barred from making a claim.  The state court determined that this was the case. Continue reading →