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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“Unpaid” Summer Internships May Violate Federal Labor Laws

May 29, 2014

With the summer approaching, many college students seek out internships. Frequently these are “unpaid,” with the intended purpose that the student gain necessary experience in order to later obtain a paying job in his or her field of interest. However, stringent rules define just when an employer must pay an intern. The failure to follow these guidelines may violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) entitling the “unpaid intern” to compensation including, but not limited to back wages and damages.

Consulting with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney before starting an internship is a good idea if you have any employment related questions, especially concerning your right to pay.

As set forth by the Department of Labor, a number of factors determine whether you should be compensated for your hours worked.

To qualify as an “unpaid internship” the position:

• Must be similar to training that would be provided in an educational environment;
• Must be for the benefit of the intern;
• The intern does not take the place of a regular employee and works under the close supervision of existing staff;
• The employer provides training that isn’t immediately advantageous to the company; and on occasion the intern’s activities may hinder the employer’s operations;
• The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the end of the internship; and
• Both the intern and the employer understand that the intern is not entitled to pay for the time spent working as an intern.

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Number Of Wage And Hours Cases Increases For 7th Straight Year

May 22, 2014

For the seventh year in a row, the number of wage and hour lawsuits filed by employees against their employers has increased. According to a recently released report by the federal government, more that 8000 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuits have been brought by workers. This number represents only federal law suits, were state wage and hour lawsuits figured in, the amount would be significantly higher.

Although no one answer may explain the recent uptick in case filings, a number of observers note that a combination of employer confusion concerning workers rights, and a poor economy that may have caused unscrupulous employers to cut corners and not pay their employees all that they deserve may have contributed to the lawsuits.

If you have questions about the FLSA or believe that you may not have been paid all that you deserve, we urge you to contact our knowledgeable Atlanta wage and hour attorneys right away. The FLSA can be confusing, and as these statistics reveal, lead to numerous wage and hour violations. As Georgia FLSA attorneys, we have in-depth knowledge of wage and hour laws and are dedicated to staying up to date on all developments that may affect workers in order to ensure your rights are protected.

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Business Owner Found Personally Liable For Overtime Pay Violations

May 14, 2014

Recently, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the owner of a business could be held personally liable for damages resulting from violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA provides employees certain protections, including that workers receive at least minimum wage and that non-exempt employees be paid overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-half their standard rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of 40 hours in any work week.

If you have any wage and hour questions or are concerned that you are not getting paid all the compensation you are entitled to, it’s important to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney right away.

In the recent FLSA case, Irizarry v. Catsimatidis, the court evaluated who should be responsible for actually paying the money owed when a company is found to have violated the Act, such as by not paying overtime. Here, the court found that the chairman and CEO of corporate supermarket chain Gristede's Foods, Inc., could be held personally liable and responsible for paying those damages.

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Wage Laws and Tipped Workers – What Are Your Rights?

May 7, 2014

Several sources have reported that wage and hour lawsuits are on the rise, often as the result of violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or state labor laws. Many times, these lawsuits arise concerning how “tipped workers” such as wait staff, bartenders and others who depend on tips as a portion of their wages – are compensated. Tipped pay is complicated by numerous issues, including how tipped workers are compensated when they perform non-tipped duties, and where tip pooling arrangements exist, whether these are valid.

If you are a tipped worker and have questions concerning about your pay and whether you have been properly compensated for your work, it is important to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyer immediately. A knowledgeable FLSA attorney can provide you critical advice concerning your pay and help protect your rights.

Some of the rules include:

You must be paid minimum wage.

Under Federal Law, tipped workers earn a minimum of $2.13 per hour. If this pay plus tips doesn’t add up to $7.25, then employers must pay the difference.

No more than 20% of your time can be spent on non-tipped duties.

Further, if the tipped workers spend more than 20% of their time performing “non-tipped” duties then they must get paid at the higher hourly rate. Thus, when tipped employees perform significant maintenance, prep work, or opening and closing duties, such time in not tipped. If this amounts to more than 20 percent, then the tipped employees are entitled to receive $7.25/hour (or higher in some states.)

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Overtime Compensation And Sleeping On The Job

April 30, 2014

A recent overtime lawsuit raised an interesting question – what employment laws apply when workers are required to “sleep on the job”? The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides workers many protections, including requiring that workers be paid at least minimum wage and that non-exempt workers be compensated at a rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of 40 hours in any work week. Despite this straightforward sounding rule, employers often mistakenly – or even sometimes intentionally – violate federal labor law by failing to pay workers all the compensation they deserve.

If you have questions about your wages and whether you have been paid properly, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney who can help answer your questions and protect your rights.

Employers may make errors in your pay in a variety of ways. A common mistake is “misclassification.” Misclassification occurs when your employer mistakenly classifies you as an independent contractor rather than an employee, or an exempt employee rather than non-exempt. In each of these situations, you may be denied the overtime wages you deserve. FLSA violations and lawsuits are also frequently the result of employers failing to pay workers for all the time they put in – such as required time for doffing and donning gear, missed breaks and lunches, and off-the-clock time required to respond to phone calls and emails.

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