Wage & Hour Laws and Discrimination
Posted on behalf of Gordon & Partners on Sep 22, 2015 in Workers' Compensation
Worker discrimination in Florida is a very serious and very real problem. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) clearly states that employees in the private sector, as well as those in federal, state and local government jobs, must receive a minimum wage, or greater, for the time they put in at work. However, many Florida employers sidestep these wage laws by not paying workers a base wage, by denying pay for overtime hours, or by paying a person less than other employees because of their gender or race.
Wage and Hour Claim Lawyer
The West Palm Beach, Florida wage discrimination lawyers at Gordon & Partners , P. A. represent the people, not the powerful. We understand that you work hard for your money. If you have been cheated out of your wages by your employer due to discrimination, withholding of overtime pay, or any other unethical practice, we will fight to ensure that you receive the compensation you and your family deserve. Call us today toll free at 1 (855) 722-2552 or contact us through our online contact form.
Types of Claims
Workers may be unaware that their employers are failing to compensate them for all that they do. There are several types of claims an employee may wish to bring against an employer. Those claims include:
- Misclassification of exempt employees
- Misclassification of employees are independent contractors
- Failure to salary exempt employees
- Failure to pay minimum wage or regular rate
- Failure to pay “off-the-clock” activities before or after work
- Miscalculation of bonuses and commissions
- Tip and “service charge” discrepancies
- Unpaid “on-duty” meal times
- Reimbursement denial
- Other claims that violate state law practices
It is important to be familiar with Florida state laws regarding pay requirements and to keep track of any expected reimbursements, activities required outside of business hours and any questionable discrepancies in pay.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes overtime standards for workers in the public, private and governmental sectors. It states that workers clocking more than 40 hours per work week must be paid overtime, which accrues at a rate of “time-and-a-half” that of their normal pay rate.
Employees are categorized as either “exempt” or “nonexempt,” where exempt employees are ineligible for overtime pay. Employers often improperly categorize workers as exempt to avoid compensating them for overtime hours.
Independent contractors are often not paid overtime by employers, when in truth their status does not exclude them from receiving overtime pay. Some employers may attempt to institute “Chinese overtime” pay, or half that of their normal rate. This only applies in the following situations:
- If the employee holds fluctuating hours
- The employee is paid a fixed salary, regardless of whether they work a 40-hour week
- No reduction in salary is made for shorter weekends
- The rate used to calculate Chinese overtime is minimum wage or more
Wage and Hour Legislation
Two major acts that will greatly improve fairness in wage and hours disputes have been passed by Congress and could soon be turned into law by the new administration. If enacted, these laws will greatly decrease the incidence of unethical wage practices in Florida and across the country.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is aimed at reversing a U.S. 2007 Supreme Court decision, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618 (2007). In that case, Lilly Ledbetter, a female employee at an Alabama plant, discovered that for years she had been making less money than her male co-workers in the same job. However, she was denied back pay. The reason: the Supreme Court ruled that an employee had only 180 days to file a complaint from the first discriminatory act -- even if the employee did not discover the discrimination until years later.
Under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, employees will be able to file a complaint within 180 days of the lastdiscriminatory act against them. This means that if you have been denied fair wages and wish to file a complaint, you may do so within 180 days of the last paycheck you receive, even if the discrimination happened while the old act was in effect. The law will also restore the right of the employee to sue upon any instance of pay discrimination. There are limitations however. Employees will only be able to seek compensation for up to two years of back pay.
The Paycheck Fairness Act will amend the 1963 Equal Pay Act and help to strengthen existing laws that prohibit wage discrimination. It will also require the federal government to take a stronger stance in identifying and stopping wage discrimination. The Paycheck Fairness Act will help to strengthen the Equal Pay act in several ways.
- It will provide greater punishment for employers that practice discrimination.
- The act will mandate that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) survey pay date and issue regulations to help ensure the ability to discover violations of employment laws and improve the ability to enforce them.
- The act will prevent employers from retaliating against employees who share wage information with other workers.
- The act will help to prevent gender discrimination by authorizing the collection of gender-based information under the Current Employment Statistics Survey and standardizing the analysis of wage discrimination.
Once these acts have passed, workers will be able to better identify wage discrimination, and they'll have more effective legal tools for fighting workplace injustices.
Can I File a Claim a Wage and Hour Lawsuit?
Employees who we refused overtime, misclassified as exempt or underpaid may be eligible to file a lawsuit against their employer for violations of FLSA regulations. These suits can be filed as individual claims or collective actions:
- Individual claims are brought by a single plaintiff
- Collective actions are filed when multiple employees suffered similar FLSA violations
Employees who believe they are being discriminated against are shielded from employer retaliation under state and federal laws. Retaliation can come in the form of harassment, refusal for promotion, firing, altering benefits, and other behaviors.
What Damages are Available if I File?
If you or a loved one believe you are being discriminated against in the workplace, filing a claim with experienced employment discrimination lawyers can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Title VII damages that may be provided to victims of workplace discrimination could include job reinstatement, financial damages, injunctive relief, or other job-related losses like wage recovery.
Contact Our Wage and Hour Claim Lawyers for More Information
If you are in need of a skilled Florida wage discrimination attorney, please contact Gordon & Partners, P.A. for a free, no-obligation and confidential consultation. At Gordon & Partners, we believe our system of justice works best when skilled attorneys that have the resources to fully prepare and try a case represent both sides. Please complete our online contact form or call us toll free at 1 (855) 722-2552