What Should a Georgia Employer or Employee Know About the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is a federal law that sets standards for government and private sector employees. It establishes the federal minimum wage and sets requirements for overtime pay. It also sets standards related to record keeping and child labor. The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor administers and enforces the FLSA. Violations of this law can have serious consequences for an employer and result in significant financial loss to an employee. If you have questions regarding your legal rights or obligations, Georgia employment lawyers at Parks, Chesin & Walbert can help you.

What Employers are Subject to the FLSA?

The FLSA applies to federal, state, and local government agencies. It also applies to most private sector employers with an annual dollar volume of $500,000 or more. Most hospitals, certain residential facilities, and most schools are also required to comply with the FLSA.

When is an Employee Entitled to Overtime?

A non-exempt employee is entitled to overtime pay at a rate of at least one and a half times his or her regular pay rate after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

What is an “Exempt” Employee?

Mentions of “exempt” employees under the FLSA generally refer to workers who are not entitled to the minimum wage and overtime protections in the Act. These exemptions include executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees. Some workers may be exempt from only the minimum wage standards or only the overtime standards. While it seems like it should be a straightforward analysis, classification of employees as exempt or non-exempt is a complex area of law. Furthermore, misclassifying someone as exempt can result in underpayment of overtime and serious consequences for the employer. If you have a question regarding classification, you should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney.

Can an Employer Require an Adult Worker to Work Overtime?

Yes. The FLSA does not limit the amount of time an employer can require an employee over the age of 16 to work, as long as non-exempt employees are paid any required overtime.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Overtime for Work Performed on Weekends or Holidays?

No. The FLSA does not require an employer to pay overtime for weekend or holiday work. The employer must pay overtime to non-exempt employees for hours worked that exceed 40 hours in the workweek. A workweek consists of seven consecutive 24-hour days, but the workweek does not have to correspond to the calendar week, and it may begin at any hour of the day. Additionally, different employees may work weeks beginning on different days.

Can an Employer Deduct Funds from a Non-Exempt Employee’s Paycheck for Cash or Merchandise Shortages or Uniform Costs?

An employer cannot deduct funds from a non-exempt employee’s paycheck if the deduction would result in the employee receiving less than the minimum wage for the pay period, or if it would result in a reduction of overtime pay.

What Remedies are Available to an Employee Who Has Not Received Wages to Which He or She Was Entitled Under the FLSA?

An employee may file suit for recovery of back pay, an equal amount of liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees and costs.

A worker may also choose to file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division. If the Wage and Hour Division determines that back wages are owed, there are several ways in which it may proceed. It may oversee payment of back wages. The Secretary of Labor may file suit for back wages and liquidated damages on behalf of the employee. The Secretary may alternatively seek an injunction to restrain the employer from violating the FLSA, including withholding wages and overtime pay. The employee may not file suit if he or she has been paid back wages under the supervision of the Wage and Hour Division, or if the Secretary has already filed suit.

Generally, a two-year statute of limitations applies. If there is an intentional violation of the FLSA, however, the statute of limitations is three years. An employee should always seek legal advice immediately in employment law matters because many actions by the employer can form the basis of multiple claims, some of which have very short time limits.

Who can I Call for Advice on My FLSA Issue?

If you have an issue related to FLSA, you need the advice of an experienced employment attorney in the Atlanta area. Attorneys at Parks, Chesin & Walbert are knowledgeable in this nuanced area, where we represent both employees and employers. Whether you are a worker who has suffered an FLSA violation or a company that is trying to ensure compliance with the law, we can assist you. Contact us through our online form or call us at 404-873-8048.

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