Wage and Hour Collective Actions May Lead To Improved Workplace Conditions

December 21, 2014

Over the last several years, the number of wage and hour lawsuits filed against employers has steadily increased. Federal lawsuits based on violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) may arise in a variety of situations, but are often based on an employer’s failure to minimum wage or overtime compensation as required by law.

The FLSA provides that all employees are entitled to by paid at least minimum wage and all non exempt employees must be paid overtime compensation at a rate of one and one half times their standard rate of pay for all time worked beyond 40 hours in any work week. Many times, these claims arise as the mischaracterization of employees as “exempt v. non-exempt” or the improper failure to pay workers for all time spent on the job (i.e. not paying employees for missed lunches/breaks, requiring workers perform pre- and post- clocked in duties without pay.)

Often, where one worker’s rights have been violated, other similarly situated employees have also been deprived rightful compensation. In these instances, it may be possible to bring a special type of lawsuit called a “collective action,” a particular type of FLSA class action that will help you bring the maximum pressure to bear on your employer to change its ways and to pay you all the compensation you are owed.

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Wage and Hour Considerations During The Holiday Season

December 13, 2014

If you work during the holiday season, and work on the holidays themselves, several different factors may affect your take home pay.

For example, holidays often provide extra opportunities to work overtime. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in any work week must be paid at one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for all overtime worked. Some employers may require their employees to work overtime, but fail to pay them the increase rate when they do. Further, some employers may require you to put in time after you have “clocked out.” These practices may violate the FLSA if you fail to receive the appropriate compensation.

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Changes Likely To Exemptions Under The FLSA

November 29, 2014

President Obama and the Department of Labor have indicated that they will reveal proposed revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sometime in early 2015. One of the areas that will be impacted concerns employee “classification.” That is, whether an employee is classified as “exempt v. non-exempt” and thus, entitled to overtime pay or not.

Currently, the FLSA provides that all non-exempt workers are entitled to receive overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in any workweek. However, exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay regardless of the number of hours worked. An experienced Georgia FLSA attorney can provide you guidance if you have questions concerning whether you are exempt v. non-exempt.

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Should Thanksgiving Workers Get Overtime Pay?

November 26, 2014

More and more retailers seeking to capitalize on holiday shopping are requiring employees work on Thanksgiving. While many take advantage of this extra opportunity to get great deals, save money and get a start on holiday shopping, this trend has generated significant amount of criticism from workers, as well as lawmakers who are concerned that employees are being taken advantage of.

Generally, workers who are required to work on Thanksgiving earn an increased wage – however there is no one set rule regarding how much you should get paid. This is often governed by a union contract or company policy. While some employees get “holiday pay” even if they are not required work, others may be forced to work, and whether they get paid time and an half, double-time or their standard wage varies. If you have questions concerning your rights if you have to work on Thanksgiving, or any other wage and hour issue, consulting with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney is important to ensure you get paid all the compensation you deserve.

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Wage Theft Continues To Plague Workers

November 15, 2014

A recent article underscored the prevalence of wage theft – the failure of employers to pay workers the amount of wages they are entitled to. Addressing “wage theft” can be hard, workers often fear retaliation if they complain about missing wages or believe that they have not been paid all the compensation they rightfully deserve.

Many are scared and fear termination – some companies threaten to fire employees or even to force deportation of undocumented workers.

However, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects workers from retaliation and wage violations. These protections also apply to undocumented workers. The Fair Labor Standards Act (the FLSA) provides that all workers must be paid at least minimum wage and non-exempt workers who put in more than 40 hours in any work week are entitled to be paid at a rate of one and one-half their standard rate of pay for time worked beyond those 40 hours. Further, the FLSA protects workers by making it illegal to retaliate against them for complaining about potential wage violations. This means even if your employer has not made a mistake concerning your wages, if you complain and suffer any negative work consequences as a result, you may be able to file a retaliation lawsuit and seek damages. Retaliation claims may be based on a variety of work place actions such as firing, giving you less desirable shifts or locations, or failing to promote.

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Degree of Control A Central Factor In Determining Who Is An Employee v. Contractor

November 4, 2014

Recently, several cases around the country involving strippers have highlighted a significant issue for workers in all lines of work – whether you should be classified as an independent contractor or an employee. In the latest case, Terry v. Sapphire, the Nevada Supreme Court determined that strippers at a Las Vegas club should be considered employees, not independent contractors. The women had been classified as contractors, which meant that they were denied certain protections the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guarantees employees, and left them dependent upon tips for income.

The women have now prevailed in this wage and hour lawsuit, and will receive back wages and damages.

If you have questions about whether you are an employee or independent contractor, or any other wage and hour concern, consulting with an experienced Georgia FLSA attorney is a good idea. A knowledgeable wage and hour lawyer can evaluate your circumstance and help determine whether you are receiving all the compensation you are entitled to.

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NCAA Sued For Wage Violations

October 28, 2014

A new wage and hour lawsuit has been filed against the NCAA asserting violations of the Fair Labor Standard’s Act (FLSA) minimum wage provision. The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis by a former soccer player, alleges that student athletes should be considered “temporary employees” of Division I schools, similar to work-study participants. Based on this theory, athletes are entitled to be paid as much – if not more than – other work-study participants.

The FLSA provides that all workers are entitled to be paid minimum wage and those non-exempt workers who work more than 40 hours in any work week are entitled to be paid at a rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for all overtime. If you have any wage and hour questions or believe that you have not been paid all compensation that you deserve, consulting with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney is important to help you determine your next steps. The failure by an employee to pay employees such wages may violate Federal Labor Law.

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Wage and Hour Questions Prevalent In Health Care Industry

October 25, 2014

Federal labor law (the Fair Labor Standards Act – FLSA), provides many protections for the vast majority of this country’s workers. Pursuant to the FLSA, workers must be paid at least minimum wage and all non-exempt workers are entitled to overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-times their standard rate of pay. Although this sounds straight forward, determining the correct rate of pay and ensuring employees receive all the compensation they are entitled to can be complicated – and lead to pay violations. If you have questions about your pay, or believe that you may not be receiving all that you are entitled to, consulting with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney should be a top priority.

One area where questions often arise is in the health care field. For example, Registered nurses often work significant hours in a week. Lunch may be interrupted, breaks missed or overtime required. Employers must ensure that this time is properly accounted for and that nurses are paid what they are rightfully due. Additionally, where employers inaccurately compensate one worker, often several other similarly situated workers also fail to receive the pay they deserve. In these circumstances, it may be possible for the workers to file a special type of FLSA class action, known as a collective action, which will help you bring the maximum pressure to bear on your employer to change its ways and to pay you all the compensation you are owed.

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When Should Employees Be Paid For Pre- and Post-Shift Time?

October 18, 2014

This past week the United States Supreme Court heard argument on a potentially significant Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) case. The lawsuit, Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, involves whether employees who are required to stand in a security clearance line for their employer’s benefit must be compensated. Even though the case only concerns security checks, how the Supreme Court rules on this case may impact whether employees must be paid for other pre- and post-shift activities.

Pursuant to the FLSA, employers must pay workers for all time worked, and all non-exempt employees must be paid overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-half their standard rate of pay for time worked over 40 hours in any work week. If you have questions about the FLSA, it’s important to consult with an experienced Georgia wage and hour attorney right away.

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Who is An Employer or Employee Under The FLSA?

October 11, 2014

Determining who is your employer and conversely whether you are considered an “employee” are hot topics pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Pursuant to the FLSA, employers owe employees certain rights. These include the right to be paid at least minimum wage, and that all non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay at the rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for every hour worked above 40 in any work week.

If you have questions about how any employment laws apply to you - or if you are considered an “employee” pursuant to labor laws - it is important to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyer immediately.

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Wage Theft Has Cost Low Income Workers Billions In Compensation

September 30, 2014

NBC News reports that wage theft is costing low wage earners literally billions in lost compensation. According to an analysis published by the Economic Policy Institute, close to $1 billion was recovered in 2012 on behalf of workers for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations – such as being paid less than minimum wage or not receiving the overtime compensation they were entitled to.

The FLSA sets forth certain protections that cover nearly all workers – the right to earn at least minimum wage and that non-exempt employees be paid overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of 40 hours in a work week.

If you have questions about the FLSA or believe that you may have not received all the pay you are entitled to, consulting with a top Georgia wage and hour attorney is important to evaluate your situation and determine your next steps.

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Are You Entitled To Overtime Pay?

September 24, 2014

A recent article in the New York Times looked at a complicated overtime pay issue – one that President Obama is seeking to simplify. The question is – who is entitled to overtime compensation? Under federal labor law – the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) - if you are a non-exempt hourly wage earner you are likely entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half your hourly rate of pay for every hour worked beyond 40 in any one-work week. However, if you make $460 a week in a salary you often are not entitled to time-and-a-half for overtime no matter how many extra hours you work. Broken down into an hourly rate of pay this works out to be about $11.50 an hour. When this provision was originally adopted it was to exempt higher paid white-collar workers. However this is no longer the situation. In fact, by treating hourly and salaried workers differently lower paid salary workers may face "wage exploitation" by denying low-paid workers the potential for overtime pay.

If you have wage and hour questions, consulting with an experienced Atlanta Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawyer is important to ensure you are receiving all the pay you deserve.

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