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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Time Spent After Hours On Smart Phone May Entitle You To Overtime Compensation

January 18, 2015

With the proliferation of smart phones, it is easier than ever to communicate. An employer may send a quick text or email after work hours, and expect a response. However, the ease of communication may lead to potential Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations and abuses.

Pursuant to the FLSA, non-exempt workers are entitled to be paid at a rate of one and one-half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any one work-week. If employees are required to perform after-hours tasks, they are entitled to be paid for all time worked. This includes time spent responding to emails and texts. For example, if a boss sends an email during non-working hours, such as over the weekend or at night, and requests that an employee read it, this time may be compensable. Even if a boss doesn’t explicitly request the employee read it “off hours,” most workers feel pressure to read and respond to an email immediately. Not doing so, they fear, may put them at a disadvantage.

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Are You Entitled To Overtime Pay?

January 10, 2015

With the new year upon, reforms to the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) are expected. Last March President Obama signed a memo directing the Department of Labor to address certain provisions of the federal law. One of these provisions concerns the salary threshold for overtime.

Currently, the FLSA provides that all non-exempt employees who put in more than 40 hours in any workweek 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 hours in any one workweek. Whether a worker qualifies as “exempt” v. “non-exempt” depends on a variety of factors, and whether you are paid on a salary basis in an amount not less than $455/week.

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What Duties Are Intergral and Indispensable?

December 31, 2014

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to most workers in the United States and provides that employees are entitled to earn at least minimum wage, and 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 spent working in excess of forty hours in any one work week. Often wage and hour lawsuits are the result of the failure of employers to properly compensate workers for all time spent on the job.

If you have questions about your pay or believe that you may not have received all the compensation you deserve, it is important to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney right away.

As part of the FLSA, employers must compensate their employees for all time on the job – this calculation includes times spent performing duties that are “integral and indispensable” to their principal work activities. Defining just what are “integral and indispensable” duties is often a point of confusion for employers and for the courts. Recently, the Supreme Court determined that time spent going through mandatory anti-theft security screens before leaving work did not constitute an integral and indispensable part of warehouse employee’s work.

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21 States To Raise Minimum Wage In 2015

December 28, 2014

With 2015 approaching, 21 states are set to increase their minimum wage. In nine states, the raise is called for by state laws. These include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and Washington. In another four states - Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota - residents voted to increase the minimum wage.). Further, in 7 states, legislators approved the minimum wage hikes. These include Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia, legislators approved wage increases. The minimum wage hike means that private employers such as Wal-Mart, Target and McDonalds will be raising the pay for its minimum wage earners in numerous stores across the country.

Economists estimate that this will translate into more that $838 million in economic growth as workers put their increased income back into the economy.

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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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