Have You Been A Victim of Wage Theft?

April 23, 2015

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides employees several protections, however many workers still endure violations of wage and hour laws - “wage theft” – and may be entitled to recover compensation including back pay and damages.

Some of the most frequent mistakes businesses make, which then deprive workers of the pay they are entitled to include:

Misclassifying employees as independent contractors. One of the biggest mistakes employers make is misclassifying workers.

In general, the analysis regarding whether a worker is an independent contractors or an employee focuses on the degree of control a company has over the worker. if the company has financial control over the person and controls the work that the person does and how they do it, they will be considered to be an employee and not an independent contractor.

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Home Healthcare Workers File Wage and Hour Lawsuit

April 11, 2015

Recently, a group of home health care workers filed a class action wage and hour lawsuit against several health care staffing companies. The group made several claims against these agencies asserting that they were not paid the hourly wages they were entitled to, and were denied both overtime and sick days in violation of the law.

Pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), nearly all workers in the United States who work for a living are entitled to earn at least minimum wage and all non-exempt workers are entitled to receive overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-half times their hourly rate of pay.

In this instance, the wage and hour class action asserts that the staffing companies failed to pay overtime compensation when the workers put in time in excess of 40 hours and also failed to give them paid time off when they were sick. These practices violated both the overtime and minimum wage protections of the FLSA.

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Mining Company Must Pay Back Wages for Misclassification

March 30, 2015

Employment law news reveals that a large mining company will be required to pay $4.5 million in back pay to several current and former workers as the result of several wage and hour violations. According to reports, the company made several errors – including misclassifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Misclassification of employees is one of the most frequent errors/violations that employers make and often leads to deserving employees missing out on significant overtime pay.

Misclassification generally occurs in one of two ways, either a employers erroneously categorize their employees as independent contractors or as exempt when they should be non-exempt.

If you have questions about whether you have been “misclassified” by your employer, it’s a good idea to consult with a skilled Atlanta wage and hour attorney right away.

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Understaffing And Overworking Employees May Violate Wage and Hour Laws

March 28, 2015

Recently, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld a $185 million judgment against a national retailer based on wage and hour violations. The case highlights the extreme tactics some employers use to try to maximize profits, which in this instance ultimately backfired. Here, the retailer attempted to both under staff and over work its employees. Actions included not allowing workers to take rest breaks – or only shortened breaks– and requiring that they work instead. Further, some of the employees put in time “off the clock” after their scheduled shifts ended as the result of understaffing.

The court determined that the actions were so pervasive as to constitute systemic violations and thus justify the class action findings. According to the court, this — together with the manager's annual bonus compensation program — "impeded the ability of employees, across the board, to take scheduled, promised, paid rest breaks."

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Cheerleaders Settle Wage and Hour Lawsuit

March 21, 2015

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed to settle a class action wage and hour lawsuit filed by it cheerleaders. The 94 former and current cheerleaders have alleged that the football program failed to pay the cheerleaders minimum wage, and that they were required to work unpaid hours including practice time, posing for calendars, charities and clinics. The Buccaneer’s own website provided that the cheerleaders were “consistently busy rehearsing, performing and volunteering for community events and appearances.”

Pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) – which covers most employees in the United States - employers must pay all workers at least minimum wage and all non-exempt workers are entitled to be paid time and a half for all hours worked in excess of forty hours in any one work week. If you have questions about your pay, or believe that you have not received all the compensation you are entitled to, it is important to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney right away.

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What Qualifies As an Exemption Under the Fair Labor Standards Act?

March 8, 2015

The Department of Labor is currently preparing revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which will be issued in the next coming months. Most observers believe that these revisions will include adjustment to the “salary basis” test. Currently, if employees make more than $455 and fall into certain “white-collar” categories, employers may classify such workers as exempt and not be required to pay overtime. However, because this threshold is so low, often workers deserving of overtime pay fall into the exempt category and are denied the opportunity to earn such compensation.

In addition to meeting the salary requirements, employees may be considered exempt where they perform certain executive, administrative or professional duties.

The executive exemption applies to those workers whose primary duty is the management of the “enterprise” or a subdivision, and who have the authority to “hire, fire, and promote employees or make such personnel recommendations that hold weight with the employer.”

Often business owners, managers and vice presidents fall into this category, but a title alone is not enough to meet the criteria.

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Oscars Raise Issue of Equal Pay

February 25, 2015

One of the standout moments at the Oscars was actress Patricia Arquette’s call for pay equality – calling for equal pay for equal work. While accepting an award, Arquette spoke out, stating "To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” she proclaimed. “It is our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America!”

An important piece of her speech was that she included “every woman who gave birth” highlighting the wage inequalities facing mothers in particular.

The Equal Pay Act is part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended (FLSA), "prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions."

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Department Of Labor Likely To Amend Salary Exemption

February 20, 2015

According to CNN, the Obama administration is getting closer to issuing its proposed amendment to the overtime compensation laws. The amendment will provide overtime pay to low-salaried managers who don’t currently qualify for them.

Pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), most “non-exempt” workers are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for all time worked in excess of 40-hours in any one work week. However, “exempt” workers are not entitled to overtime compensation, regardless of the number of hours worked in a week.

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When Must An Intern Be Paid?

February 7, 2015

Several recent lawsuits are raising questions about interns and when they must be paid as employees pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA provides that all workers must be compensated for their work – earning at least minimum wage and for non-exempt workers, overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times their standard hourly wage for all time worked in excess of forty hours in any one work week. However, a very narrow set of circumstances allows employers to avoid paying some workers such as summer interns. The rules are very strict though, and companies often mistakenly (or in some situations, intentionally), violate these rules and fail to pay workers who are rightfully entitled to compensation.

In one case, Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, interns on the set of “Black Swan” successfully sued Fox for back wages. The interns had not been paid, but performed work that would typically be compensated. In another case, Wang v. Hearst, the court determined that the unpaid internships were allowable because the work the interns provided was for their “primary benefit” rather than that of the employer.

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When Must An Intern Be Paid?

February 7, 2015

Several recent lawsuits are raising questions about interns and when they must be paid as employees pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA provides that all workers must be compensated for their work – earning at least minimum wage and for non-exempt workers, overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times their standard hourly wage for all time worked in excess of forty hours in any one work week. However, a very narrow set of circumstances allows employers to avoid paying some workers such as summer interns. The rules are very strict though, and companies often mistakenly (or in some situations, intentionally), violate these rules and fail to pay workers who are rightfully entitled to compensation.

In one case, Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, interns on the set of “Black Swan” successfully sued Fox for back wages. The interns had not been paid, but performed work that would typically be compensated. In another case, Wang v. Hearst, the court determined that the unpaid internships were allowable because the work the interns provided was for their “primary benefit” rather than that of the employer.

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Underreporting of Time Not An Excuse To Violate the FLSA

January 31, 2015

Pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) generally employers must pay all non-exempt workers overtime compensation at a rate of time and a half for all times their standard rate of pay for all time worked in excess of forty hours in a work week. Employers are not allowed to use the excuse that employees underreported their hours as a way around this requirement, a recent wage and hour lawsuit determined.

If you have any wage and hour questions, it's a good idea to speak with an experienced Georgia wage and hour attorney to ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve.

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McDonald's Corporation Sued In Employment Discrimination Case

January 26, 2015

Legal news reports that a group of former McDonald’s workers have filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the fast food giant. The 10 plaintiffs have alleged that they were subjected to racial discrimination and sexual harassment at the hands of managers at a Virginia franchise. The have named McDonald’s Corporate as a defendant as well, asserting that McDonald’s should pay damages because it has the power to set and enforce company policies. Even though the franchise operates as “nominally independent” in reality the restaurants are predominantly controlled by the McDonald's Corporation, the lawsuit asserts.

Some of the allegations include complaints that the plaintiffs, nine of whom are African American and one who is Hispanic, were wrongfully fired last year and replaced with mostly white workers because their managers believed there had been "too many black people [working] in the store." The lawsuit further alleges that women were harassed and groped and that minorities were subjected to racist taunts. It also claims that managers referred to one restaurant as "the ghetto store."

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