Holding Employers Accountable For Wage And Leave Violations
As an employee, you may be entitled to a number of benefits beyond a standard hourly rate of pay. At Johnson & Bennett, we focus our law practice on employment law and demand that employers treat their workers fairly. Our attorneys take action when they fail to do so. Our partners have a proven track record of substantial judgments and settlements in high-stakes, complex misclassification and wage-theft matters.* We can help you recover your hard-earned wages and damages, and represent you if your employer has not followed the law related to absences from work related to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Violations Of The Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay their nonexempt workers at least minimum wage and one and one-half times their wages for all hours worked above 40 in a workweek. However, employers often find creative ways to withhold overtime pay, including:
- Misclassifying workers as independent contractors, managers or commission-based workers
- Counting certain wages as expenses or bonuses to reduce the amount overtime is based on
- Not counting such work-related activities as checking email or training as compensable time
- Recording fewer hours than the worker actually worked
If you have been a victim of these practices, we want to hear from you.
Misclassification Of Workers
Overtime laws apply only to certain nonexempt employees. For this reason, employers often misclassify workers as exempt to reduce their payroll expenses. The result is that you may be working long hours with less pay than you are entitled to. You may actually be an employee who is misclassified, including:
- Independent contractors do not enjoy the protections afforded to employees under the FLSA. Although you were hired as an independent contractor, you may actually be an employee by law, meaning you are entitled to overtime pay and other benefits.
- Executive exemption applies to workers who make a minimum salary, manage the enterprise, supervise at least two employees, and have hiring and firing authority. However, you may actually be working long hours for minimal pay that is far less than you would receive as an hourly employee.
- Commission-based retail employees are exempt from overtime in certain situations. The arrangement may be a crafty way for your employer to withhold wages you earned.
Remedies For Wage Theft
You have the right to the money you earned, which includes overtime pay. However, you should not delay in pursuing your legal rights. The statute of limitations is two years in most wage theft cases and three years for willful violations. Our lawyers may pursue damages for back pay, treble liquidated damages, and lawyers’ fees and costs. If your employer is stealing your pay, likely the wrongdoing is systemic. Therefore, we will review whether we have grounds to file the claim as a class and whether class action is in your best interests.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) became law in 1993 and mandated that employers offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave for employers to attend to their own medical matters or those of a family member. The leave can apply if the company has 50 or more employees withing 75 miles, if the employee has been with the company for 12 months or more, and if they have worked 1,250 hours for the company in the year before the leave is requested.
Although employers are required to determine if an employee is eligible for an FMLA-covered leave, even if the employee never says “FMLA,” some attempt to evade their responsibilities. You may have experienced an FMLA violation if any of the following apply to your situation:
- Your employer did not notify you verbally or in writing within five days of your initial request for leave if you were eligible for FMLA
- You were not provided with a document outlining your rights and responsibilities related to FLMA leave
- You were not provided with the Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health
Condition form (U.S. Department of Labor Form WH-380-E) to present to your medical provider
- After your health care provider completed the certification form, you were not provided with a Designation Form, which either outlines what FLMA leave you have been approved for, or requests additional information in order to move forward with an approval
- You asked for and were certified for intermittent FMLA leave, but your employer insisted you take all of your approved leave in one continuous time period
- If your medical condition covered by FMLA would be considered a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), you were not offered a reasonable accommodation to your job once your FLMA leave was exhausted
- You were fired at the end of your FMLA leave
Federal law related to FLMA leave is ever-evolving, and it can be exhausting to manage your family or personal medical situation and try to argue this legal matter with your employer. Our attorneys will review your case and determine possible next steps to resolve it.
Contact Us To Discuss Your Options
Learn more about employer violations of wage and leave regulations and how you can fight back. Our firm offers a free case evaluation after we receive some basic information. Simply fill out our online contact form or call our Memphis office at 901-563-1886 or our Jackson, MS office at 769-207-0599.
*Disclaimer: Results are not typical.