$4.2M Settlement in Wage and Hour Lawsuit

August 30, 2014

Financial services group Morgan Stanley has reached a nearly $5M settlement with its client services group concerning its alleged failure to pay workers overtime compensation. According to reports, the class action wage and hour lawsuit was filed on behalf of more than 800 current and former client associates. The associates were non-exempt employees, and hence entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times their standard rate for all time worked over 40 hours in any workweek. While Morgan Stanley doesn’t admit any wrongdoing, associates will receive back pay and damages.

This lawsuit demonstrates that wage and hour violations can occur in any workplace. While the laws concerning minimum wage and overtime appear straightforward, in reality pay violations are frequent. If you have any wage and hour questions or believe that you have not received all the pay you are entitled to, consulting with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney is important to ensure you receive the compensation you rightly deserve.

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Wage and Hour Lawsuits May Affect Tipped Employee Compensation

August 22, 2014

Two wage and hour lawsuits are making their way through the court system that could have a large imoact on how tipped employees are paid. Pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers may pay certain types of workers (such as waiters and waitresses) less than minimum wage. The law presumes that the amount these “tipped workers” receive in tips will close the gap and make up the difference in pay. Where tipped employees do not receive sufficient pay in tips, employers are generally required to make up the difference. If you are a tipped worker and have questions concerning your pay, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney to ensure you are receiving all the compensation you are entitled to.

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How Do Wage and Hour Laws Apply to Telecommuting?

August 14, 2014

More and more Americans are telecommuting for work. This trend can be highly beneficial for both employers and employees. By allowing employees to telecommute, employers can save money on office space and employees may be more efficient with the elimination of the hassles of commuting. Many employees also enjoy the flexibility telecommuting provides. However, telecommuting isn’t without its complications. As an employee who telecommutes, understanding how wage and hour laws apply to your work arrangement is crucial.

If you telecommute and have questions about wage and hour laws, consulting with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney is important to ensure you obtain all the compensation you deserve.

For example if you are a non-exempt employee, pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) you are entitled to be paid for all your time spent on the job. If you put in more than 40 hours in any one workweek, then your employer must pay you overtime at the rate of one and one-half your regular rate of pay. The failure to compensate you for all your time may be a violation of the FLSA, and you may be entitled to back pay and damages. As a result, it is important that time at work is accurately recorded, whether you’re a telecommuter or work in a traditional brick and mortar setting.

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LinkedIn Settles Wage and Hour Lawsuit

August 7, 2014

The professional networking site LinkedIn has just agreed to pay $6 million in back wages and damages in a wage and hour lawsuit. More than 350 current and former employees sued the company alleging that it failed to pay workers the overtime compensation they deserved. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all non-exempt workers that work more than 40 hours in any one work week are entitled to be paid overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay.

If you have any wage and hour questions or believe that you have not received all the pay you deserve, it’s important to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyer right away.

In this instance, the employees alleged that their employment status was mischaracterized. Mischaracterization of employees as exempt v. non-exempt is one of the more common way employers violate the FLSA. Workers who are accidentally or intentionally mischaracterized as “exempt” may fail to receive the overtime compensation they are legally entitled to. Exemptions typically cover certain white collar workers and generally fall into one of three categories – administrative, executive or professional. Additionally, many computer-system analysts, computer programmers and software engineers are also exempt from overtime requirements.

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More Jurisdictions Are Adopting Unpaid Interns Laws

July 30, 2014

Legal news reports that New York State has now become the fourth jurisdiction to make it illegal for employers to “discriminate, harass, or retaliate or otherwise engage in unlawful employment practices,” against unpaid interns and those seeking jobs as unpaid interns.

If you are considering taking an internship or have questions about the laws concerning unpaid internships, it is important to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyer right away.

In recent years both federal and state lawmakers have been cracking down on the use of “unpaid” interns and have been making an effort to educate both employers and workers concerning when an intern must be paid. Generally – an intern must be paid unless they are working for their own benefit (such as personal training) rather than for the benefit of the employer. The U.S. Supreme Court, as codified by the Department of Labor, set forth the following general rules. These include:

1. That the internship is similar to training that would be given in an educational environment.
2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern.
3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff.
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded.
5. the intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.
6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

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Overtime Pay Rate Determinations Should Include Per Diem Amounts

July 22, 2014

According to a recent statement by the Department of Labor, the number lawsuits resulting from “per diem” pay are on the rise. Per diem pay is pay that you receive in addition to regular pay, and covers certain reimbursable work-related expenses or costs. Overtime lawsuits may arise in a variety of situations involving per diem pay.

For example, the FLSA provides that all non-exempt employees are entitled to over time pay at a rate of one and one-half their standard rate of pay for all time worked in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek. To determine the “rate of pay’ that serves as a base for this calculation, all remuneration must be added up which includes not only the employee’s stated hourly rate but also any per diem pay. The results of not including such pay can be costly. A recent DOL investigation determined that a labor recruiting and staffing agency that caters to oil field services and maritime fabrication facilities along the Gulf Coast had to pay more than $1.6 million to 1500 current and former employers as the result of its failure to include these amounts in the overtime pay calculation.

If you have questions about the FLSA or believe that you may not have received all the compensation you deserve, consulting with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney is important to determine your next steps.

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Costly Wage And Hour Mistakes

July 16, 2014

A recent article looked at the top wage and hour mistakes employers make when paying employees. These mistakes may constitute costly Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violation and entitle you to back wages and damages. If you believe that your employer has been committing one of these errors and has unfairly deprived you of wages, you should immediately consult with a knowledgeable Atlanta wage and hour lawyer.

One of the biggest mistakes an employer can make is misclassifying workers. This may happen in one of several ways. An employer may inaccurately classify a worker as an independent contractor rather than an employee. In these situations, the worker will fail to receive potential benefits and overtime compensation that they may otherwise deserve. It’s important to note that even if you have signed an agreement that designates you as an independent contractor, this is not the final determination. Whether you are an independent contractor or employee is largely dependent on the issue of control. If your employer controls how, when and where you do your work, you are likely an employee and entitled to the benefits that come with your position.

Another way employers misclassifying workers is by labeling them as exempt when they really are non-exempt. Because non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay, this misclassification can result in significant losses in wages.

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School Bus Company Settles Wage and Hour Lawsuit with Drivers for $1.6M

July 7, 2014

A school bus company – First Student, Inc. - has just agreed to settle a wage and hour class action lawsuit brought by its drivers based on alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to the lawsuit, the bus drivers were illegally denied pay they deserve for maintenance duties performed both before and after they drove their routes. The bus drivers asserted that they must be compensated for all time worked and denying them pay for this time violates federal labor law. Pursuant to the FLSA, workers must be paid for all time worked, and all non-exempt employees are entitled to be compensated at the rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for all time worked in excess of 40 hours for any work week.

If you have and wage and hour questions or are concerned that you have not received all the pay you deserve, its important to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney right away. A knowledgeable FLSA attorney can review your situation and provide you critical advice concerning your next steps.

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Wage and Hour Lawsuits More Prevalent in 2014

June 30, 2014

As the push for minimum wage increases continue, so too do wage and hour lawsuits. While McDonalds CEO Don Thompson has brought light to the issue of low wages, stating the he would support a bill increasing the minimum wage to $10.10, low pay and wage theft remains a significant problem.

Currently the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides certain provisions protecting workers including minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements. The current minimum wage is set at $7.25/hour, and although some states have higher requirements, such rate is far too low for many Americans to make a living.

If you have questions about how the FLSA protects you, and whether you are receiving all the wages you rightly deserve, it is a good idea to speak to a skilled Atlanta wage and hour attorney right away.

A number of wage and hour lawsuits have been filed in federal and state courts against McDonalds alleging “wage theft,” that employees were forced to work off the clock, shave time off their cards, and were not paid required overtime. These high profile claims have led to an increased awareness concerning employees’ rights and paycheck fairness.

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Employee or Volunteer?

June 24, 2014

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects employees in several different ways such as providing that workers be paid minimum wage and non-exempt employees be paid overtime at a rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of 40 in any one work week. However, receiving these protections generally requires that you be an “employee” and not an independent contractor or volunteer.

If you have any wage and hours questions, or are concerned that you are not receiving the pay you are entitled to, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced Atlanta FLSA attorney to ensure right away to ensure you are being paid what you rightly deserve.

A recent case out of the 2d Circuit Court of Appeals looked closely at the legal definition of when a worker should be considered a volunteer or an employee for the purposes of the FLSA.

In Brown v. New York City Board of Education, the 2d Circuit evaluated the duties and activities provided by a school worker. These included a variety of services including lunchtime supervision, detention, parent contact and student escort services. He also answered phones and handed out reports cards and progress reports, as well as student mentoring.

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Retaliation For Complaining About Misclassification May Violate The FLSA

June 14, 2014

One of the goals of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is to provide minimum protections to workers, such as minimum wage and overtime pay. In order to ensure that the workers can assert their rights, the FLSA also protects them from retaliation.

“Retaliation” refers to actions taken by your employer that negatively affect your job. This not only includes terminations, but also failures to promote, moves to less favorable shifts or locations and several other actions that an employer may take as the result of you complaining about wage and hour violations.

If you have questions about the FLSA or possible retaliation claims, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney. A recent FLSA retaliation case, Kavanaugh v. CDS Systems, focused on the termination of an HR director. According to the complaint, two of its employees made complaints concerning their classifications as exempt. Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay, whereas the FLSA requires “nonexempt” employees be paid at a rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for each hour worked.

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FLSA White-Collar Exemptions To Be Amended

June 7, 2014

The Fair Labor Standards Act, enacted in 1938, is an employee friendly law that sets forth certain standards that apply to nearly every U.S. employer. Two of its key provisions are the minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements. Pursuant to the FLSA, all workers must make at least minimum wage and all non-exempt workers are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and one half their hourly wage. Several exemptions exists including the executive, administrative and professional exemptions. In order for your employer to treat you as exempt, your salary cannot be less than $455 per week and your principal duties must fall into one these “white collar” classifications.

Because exempt workers are not entitled to overtime pay, determining whether a particular worker is exempt or non-exempt is a critical issue, and often leads to overtime pay lawsuits.

If you have questions concerning whether you are getting all the pay you are entitled to, and whether you should be classified as exempt or non-exempt, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced Georgia wage and hour attorney who can evaluate your particular situation and address your concerns.

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