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Under the best of circumstances, an employment relationship is an advantageous situation for all parties involved. An employee agrees to provide a defined set of services in exchange for an employer’s pledge to pay a fair wage and adhere to all applicable overtime rules and regulations.
Unfortunately, many employees find themselves subjected to an employer’s decision to disregard these parameters and ultimately violate the law.
If you believe you have been wronged in the workplace and wish to explore your legal options, a Georgia wage and hour lawyer is prepared to offer the advice and guidance you seek.
Claims related to wage and hour concerns are unfortunately quite common. An employer’s duty to comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state counterparts is clear in that employees are entitled to be paid a minimum wage in a timely manner for all hours worked.
An employer’s failure to meet this requirement constitutes wage theft, something which leaves them vulnerable to a lawsuit filed by an aggrieved employee. Typical forms of violations in the wage and hour realm include:
Categories of employees covered by FLSA must be paid the current state or federal wage, whichever is higher. While it is true that tipped employees may be paid a lower hourly rate, an employer is responsible for ensuring that the tips received are sufficient to bring the entire amount paid up to the required minimum established by law.
Pursuant to federal and state rules, employers may not require employees to work in excess of 40 hours per week without receiving compensation that is at least one and one-half times their standard rate of hourly pay.
There are a series of exceptions to this rule, however, which must be carefully examined to determine whether a prospective plaintiff has an actionable claim. Just some of these exceptions include:
While there are certainly instances in which violations of federal and state wage and hour regulations are truly inadvertent oversights on the part of employers, there are many situations in which the lack of compliance is intentional.
An alarming number of employers seek to misclassify positions as a means to skirt wage and hour rules. They may attempt to carry overtime hours from one week to the next or claim that work performed should have and could have been done in fewer than 40 hours.
They may also attempt to deny the duty to pay overtime by asserting that the extra hours were not pre-approved by management and therefore non-compensable at the higher rate.
When an employee has been treated in an unlawful manner while on the job, they have the right to seek back wages, liquidated damages and attorney fees.
An employer may attempt to argue that any wage and hour violations found were the result of a good faith error or other justification in order to avoid paying liquidated damages, a tactic that can often be successfully challenged by an experienced employment attorney.
In all cases, however, time truly is of the essence for establishing and pursuing a wage and hour claim, and a seasoned practitioner can guide employees through the pre-suit administrative process, making certain that all relevant deadlines are met.
The specter of suing an employer is something nobody is likely to relish. However, workers in Georgia need to keep in mind that statutory protections exist for the sole purpose of preserving their right to receive fair payment for all services performed.
If you are interested in recovering payments wrongfully denied by an employer, a Georgia wage and hour lawyer can help.