Lawsuits by U.S. workers contesting wages and hours, including demands for overtime pay, reached a 20-year high this year as unemployment remained above 8 percent.
There were 7,064 federal wage-and-hour cases filed during the 12 months ending March 31, a number that has grown almost every year since 2000, when the total was 1,854, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, which plans to release the data publicly later this year.
The recession and the unemployment rate contributed to the rise, said Richard Alfred, chairman of the national wage and hour litigation practice at Seyfarth Shaw, who represents companies in lawsuits brought by groups of workers. His firm reported the 2012 data in July.
“When employees are laid off, that may be an opportunity for them to