Continuing the trend of the last several years, 2015 set a record for the number of lawsuits filed alleging violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Forecasters predict that this trend will continue throughout 2016, and perhaps even gain steam.
A number of factors have been cited as contributing to the surge in lawsuits, including an increased awareness by workers concerning their employment rights. Hopefully, as more workers fight back and demand the compensation they are entitled to, FLSA violations will decrease. Additionally, more lawsuits are predicted as changes to the FLSA are implemented later this year – likely to substantially increase the number of employees entitled to overtime compensation. Currently, most non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times their standard rate. On the other hand, workers who are exempt are not entitled to overtime pay regardless of how many hours worked. In order for your employer to qualify you as exempt, you must make more that $455/week and perform certain “white collar” duties. However, the salary threshold is expected to rise, increasing the potential number of workers entitled to earn overtime significantly.
Another issue that has been problematic for employers has been the evolution of the use of smart-phones and the increased expectations by employers that employees are available “24/7”. This is a grey area, and employers may be responsible to pay overtime compensation where the employees are required to answer calls, texts and emails during off work hours.
If you have questions about the FLSA or whether you have received all the compensation you are entitled to, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Beal, LLP for an immediate consultation.