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The number of wage and hour lawsuits has increased dramatically over the last few years. Because it involves a number of gray areas, wage and hour law is a complicated area to litigate. Since most wage and hour disputes are completely avoidable, it is important that employers have a clear understanding of the laws and have policies that comply with them. Whether you are an employee or an employer, Parks, Chesin & Walbert can help explain your rights and options.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes federal standards for minimum wage, overtime, child labor, and recordkeeping. In Georgia, wage and hour issues are governed both by the FLSA and by state law. Overtime Laws
If your employer fails to pay you for overtime work, you may be entitled to overtime pay, even if your employer tells you otherwise. Many employees are misclassified as exempt employees even though they should be eligible for overtime pay. Some employers spread misinformation about overtime laws in order to save the cost of overtime expenses.
The FLSA entitles employees to receive overtime pay for any time spent working over 40 hours per week. Under the FLSA, overtime pay is equal to one and a half times the employee's hourly rate.
The FLSA allows exemptions from overtime pay for certain types of positions, including managers, executives, administrators, teachers, scientists, and independent contractors. A job title does not automatically exempt an employee from overtime pay. When considering whether overtime pay is appropriate, job duties are the most important consideration.
Employees who believe that they have wrongly been denied overtime pay should contact Parks, Chesin & Walbert to examine their case. Parks, Chesin & Walbert specializes in wage and hour claims. We can evaluate your situation to determine if your position was wrongly designated as exempt or if you are being wrongfully denied overtime pay in other ways. If you were denied overtime pay you rightfully earned, we will help you secure the compensation that you deserve. You may be entitled to receive liquidated damages equal to twice the amount of your unpaid wages.Minimum Wage Requirements
While the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour, Georgia's minimum wage is only $5.15 per hour. The Fair Minimum Wage Act (FMWA) raised the federal minimum wage to its current level in 2010, but not all employers are governed by FMWA. Companies with fewer than six employees do not have to meet the requirements of the FMWA. While most of Georgia's workers are paid at or above the federal rate, some employees receive less than the federal rate.
Employees who earn tips or who earn a salary may end up earning less than the federal minimum wage. For example, managers of fast food restaurants may routinely work well over 40 hours a week. However, since managers are often exempt from overtime pay, they sometimes end up earning less than the federal minimum wage. Employees who have been wrongfully paid less than minimum wage may be entitled to receive liquidated damages equal to twice the amount of their unpaid wages. Contact Parks, Chesin & Walbert to learn whether you have a viable claim.Individual and Collective Actions
An employee with wage and hour claims may be eligible to pursue either an individual or collective action. As opposed to an action on behalf of an individual, a collective action allows large numbers of claims to be considered in one lawsuit. If several employees have been subjected to similar wage and hour violations, they may wish to file a collective action.
Under the FLSA, an employee is not presumed to be part of a class when filing a collective action. Each employee must opt in to the collective action. Exempt employees are not eligible to join a collective action lawsuit. Once an employee opts in to the collective action, the two-year statute of limitations begins running.
Because wage and hour claims involve a significant number of gray areas, this area of employment law is exceedingly complex. Assessing these claims can be labor-intensive, as they involve significant documentation and recordkeeping. Whether you are an employer or an employee, it is a good idea to contact the attorneys at Parks, Chesin & Walbert to ensure that your rights are protected and to maximize your chances of a successful outcome. Call us at 404-873-8048.