Tennessee Fair Labor Standards Act
We all work hard for our paychecks. But when your employer fails to pay you the money that you have earned, they are effectively stealing from you. Sometimes, these situations are merely the result of an innocent error. In other cases, employers knowingly withhold money that their employees have rightly earned.
In Tennessee, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs the minimum wage and the overtime pay that most employers in the state are required to pay their employees. In some cases, it can be challenging to determine whether you have been paid the money you are entitled to under the FLSA, or even whether you are entitled FLSA protections at all.
If believe that your employer has violated your rights under the wage and hour provisions of the FLSA, you need a knowledgeable Tennessee labor law attorney to investigate your case.
The attorneys at the Employment and Consumer Law Group in Nashville focus exclusively on employment issues affecting the state’s hardworking residents. Everyone has the right to fair pay — and our legal team demands that eligible workers are repaid every penny that they are owed.
The first step is determining whether you have a valid legal claim. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
What Is The Fair Labor Standards Act?
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 is a federal law that created the right to a minimum wage and the right to overtime pay at time-and-a-half for each hour of work over 40 hours in a single workweek. The FLSA also puts limits on child labor.
The FLSA applies to nearly every employee and employer in America. There are only a few exceptions.
What Does The Fair Labor Standards Act Cover?
The FLSA provides covered employees with certain rights, including:
- Minimum wage: An employer must ensure that their employees are paid no less than $7.25 per hour. States can set higher minimum wages that are applicable to employees in their state, but Tennessee sticks with the federal standard.
- Overtime pay: Hourly employees are entitled to one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay for any work exceeding 40 hours per workweek.
- Salaried Employees: Often times employers will tell employees because they receive a salary they are not entitled to overtime. This is not true. Except for certain specific exemptions all employees are entitled to overtime, regardless if they are paid hourly or receive a salary.
- Child labor: Employees must be at least 16 years old to work in most non-farm jobs, or at least 18 years old to work in non-farm jobs that are designated as hazardous by the U.S. Department of Labor. Children age 14 or 15 are also able to work, but with more restrictions.
- Tip credit: Employers must pay tipped employee a cash wage of at least $2.13 per hour. If the cash wage plus the employee’s tips do not amount to at least minimum wage, the employer must pay the difference. Employees are entitled to keep all tips they receive, either retaining the tips they individually receive or through participation in a tip pool with other tipped employees. Tip pools must meet certain requirements before they can be considered valid, if they are invalid- the employee is entitled to receive $7.25 per hour for every hour worked.
Certain state laws can provide additional or greater benefits than those provided by the FLSA. An eligible employer is required to comply with both federal and state law, with the FLSA serving as the baseline.
Other Fair Labor Standards Act Regulations
The FLSA also regulates employer deductions from employee pay for items like merchandise shortages, uniforms and job equipment. Not every deduction is legal, and deductions may never drop the employee’s pay to below the minimum wage or reduce the amount of overtime pay required under the FLSA.
Coverage Rules for Employees
The FLSA does not apply to volunteers or independent contractors. However, an employer may not exempt a worker from FLSA coverage by merely labeling the worker as an “independent contractor.” There are certain specific requirements that must be met before someone may be considered an “independent contractor”
The courts will look at the “economic reality” of the relationship, including among other things whether the employer can control the work of the worker, whether the worker is economically dependent on the employer or if the worker offers similar services to other customers.
Minimum Wage and Overtime Under FLSA in Tennessee
Along with the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements, the act also imposes other administrative requirements on employers. Employers must track the wages and hours worked of employees eligible for overtime, usually by using timecards, timesheets or some other physical or electronic record-keeping mechanism.
What Are FLSA Exemptions?
Under the provisions of the FLSA, some employees are exempt from the overtime pay provisions. Generally to be exempt, employees must be paid a certain amount every week without deductions. In addition to the salary requirement, only employees who perform very specific job duties will be exempt from receiving overtime pay. Again, just because a person is paid on a salary basis, does not mean they are exempt from overtime pay.
These requirements for these exemptions must all be met by an employer. Employees are not required to prove they are entitled to overtime; employers must prove they are not entitled to receive overtime pay.
Filing A Wage And Hour Claim in Tennessee
If you believe your FLSA rights have been violated by your employer, you may have a wage and hour claim. If so, it is important to contact a skilled employment lawyer with specific experience in handling cases under the FLSA.
You may be entitled to receive all amounts of pay owed. You may also be entitled to receive “liquidated” or “double” damages. Your employer would also be responsible for your attorney fees and costs you have incurred in attempting to obtain monies owed.
How The Employee and Consumer Law Group Can Help
Cases involving wage and hour disputes can be difficult to determine because of the language of the FLSA. There are a lot of gray areas and each case is going to be different depending on the specific facts of the case. Fortunately, you don’t have to struggle to figure out whether you have a claim. Let the employment attorneys at The Employee and Consumer Law Group do the heavy lifting.
When you work with our lawyers, you can count on thorough legal representation that includes:
- A detailed investigation of your claim to determine whether a wage violation has occurred and whether the FLSA or other laws apply in your case.
- FLSA claims must be filed timely; and you could lose money for each day a lawsuit is not filed. Our attorneys will ensure the timely filing of your claim(s) to protect your rights.
- Honest evaluations of your claim and constant communication regarding the status of your claim.
Our employment law firm has successfully helped clients in Nashville and the surrounding communities to get monies they are owed. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients for unpaid overtime. We know that the stakes are high when pay is on the line, and we’ll fight hard to get you a resolution as quickly as possible.
Not sure if you’ve got a claim? No problem. We offer free consultations to every potential client. Call (615) 258-7134, or you fill out a quick contact form to arrange yours.