An Atlanta wrecker and towing service found itself in court after two drivers accused it of illegally failing to pay them the overtime compensation they were properly due under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The court’s summary judgment ruling in the case includes vital lessons for employers when it comes to the importance of maintaining clear and thorough pay records, as well as the risks involved in handing off FLSA compliance to a third party. If you’re facing an unpaid overtime claim (or pursuing one,) representation from a knowledgeable Atlanta wage and hour lawyer can be essential to your success.

The drivers typically worked 4-5 12-hour shifts each week. The employer paid its driver a straight commission weekly that was “calculated as a percentage of the total revenue they derived from the tows they performed that week.” For one driver that percentage was 30%, for the other it was 35%.

As noted above keeping clear, understandable, and accurate time and pay records for all employees can be crucial to any business.

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The poet Gertrude Stein wrote that a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.” In employment law, though, sometimes a resignation is not a resignation. Workers and employers should be aware that, if there’s evidence that a worker was forced by intolerable conditions to resign, the law will consider that resignation the equivalent of a termination. That includes things like sexual harassment so bad that it negatively affects a worker’s psychological well-being. If you have questions about a situation such as this, whether you’re an employer or an employee, make sure you’re getting reliable answers by talking to an experienced Atlanta sexual harassment lawyer.

As an example, we can look at the sexual harassment case of A.C., a woman working as a security officer for an Acworth-based company. The federal court for the Northern District of Georgia issued an important ruling this past May in the case (originally filed in 2021) in which it clarified what plaintiffs do and don’t need to establish a constructive discharge based on sexual harassment.

Less than a year after the woman started, a male coworker allegedly began sexually harassing her. The alleged harassment included making “lewd statements,” “touching her in an ‘unwelcome and inappropriate’ manner,” and cornering her in a closet while threatening sexual contact.

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Any federal employment discrimination lawsuit is something worth taking very seriously, whether you’re the worker pursuing the case or the employer being sued That includes assessing the ways an employer can defeat a claim, potentially even before the lawsuit makes it to trial.
Whichever side you’re on, you can strengthen your position by getting in touch with an experienced Atlanta disability discrimination lawyer about the matter.

A recent disability discrimination case from here in Georgia is an example of an employer succeeding on a summary judgment motion and avoiding a trial on a worker’s disability discrimination case.

S.L. worked as a lineman for a Georgia electric utility. The employer required all its linemen to maintain a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) at all times. The employer defined possession of a CDL as essential to the job of a lineman as, according to the employer, any lineman might need to drive a commercial vehicle on an unpredictable basis.

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Earlier this year, the Fair Labor Standards Act celebrated its 85th anniversary. Later this year, the executive and administrative exemptions will also turn 85 years old. The FLSA helps ensure workers receive fair compensation, while the exemptions provide important aid to employers. Whether you are an employer or an employee, it’s important to understand what the FLSA and its exemptions do (and don’t) require. If you have questions, get in touch with a skilled Atlanta wage-and-hour lawyer to get the knowledgeable answers you need.

When the federal government created the first salary threshold for the executive and administrative exemptions in 1938, that number was $1,560 annually. By 1949, the figure was $5,200.

Currently, the minimum salary an employer can pay and also claim the executive or administrative exemption is $684 per week, or just over $35,500. If a proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Labor takes effect as written, that figure will — for the first time — climb above $50,000 annually, at $1,059 per week, or just slightly above $55,000 annually.

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A case from outside Georgia serves as a useful reminder to employers and employees alike regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act’s rules regarding “rounding” time a worker works each day. The overarching concept that you need to know is this: if an employer’s rounding policy results in an outcome where, over time, workers are not compensated “properly for all the time they have actually worked,” then that policy may represent an FLSA violation. If you have questions about a time rounding policy, make sure to get reliable answers by consulting an experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyer.

The recent case involved a Kansas City-based health system and a large class of its workers. The health system used a popular computer software-based timekeeping system, Kronos Workforce Timekeeper.

The employer had a rounding policy where a “clock-in” or “clock-out” that occurred within six minutes of the scheduled shift start or end time was rounded. In other words, a worker who clocked in at 8:04 for an 8:00 shift was paid as if she arrived at 8:00. Similarly, a worker who clocked out at 6:05 for a shift ending at 6:00 was paid as if she left at 6:00.

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In the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare asked the timeless literary question, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” Those lines highlight the truth that changing a name or a title does not, by itself, change the named item’s inherent identity and characteristics. This also can be true in employment law where, just because a job title sounds like a managerial role, the reality of the work you do every day may indicate that your job actually is something very different, which can matter a great deal when it comes to overtime compensation. If you have questions about exempt status or possible unpaid overtime, you should take the time to get reliable answers by contacting a knowledgeable Atlanta wage and hour lawyer.

Recently, this blog looked at the administrative exemption to the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Today, we focus on another exemption that generates disputes with some frequency: the executive exemption. In many instances, these disputes involve managers at retail establishments who spend most of their workdays doing non-managerial work.

Last month, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions guide federal cases in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee) considered one of these matters and ruled for the employer.

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In some ways, wage and hour law can be like the game of bridge. Each has various sets of rules that can layer on top of (or intertwine with) one another. In each setting, the difference between success and defeat often can come down to which side understands, utilizes, and deploys those concepts more effectively. If you have questions about the law of overtime compensation, be sure to get in touch with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyer (who may or may not be able to help you with your bridge game.)

Why do we bring up bridge? In this instance, it’s because some employees of the world’s largest contract bridge league recently scored a win in their unpaid overtime lawsuit.

In 2018, the league reorganized its Field Operations Department, creating four new salaried roles: Area Manager, Mentor, National Tournament Director, and Associate National Tournament Director.

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A pair of unsuccessful attempts to settle two Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuits in Georgia are very instructive about how FLSA settlements work. One crucial concept to know is that settling an FLSA case requires clearing more hurdles than, say, settling an ordinary auto accident case. Whether you are seeking to settle your FLSA case or litigate it all the way to a judgment, an experienced Atlanta wage-and-hour lawyer can help you protect your legal rights and your individual interests.

Typically, in most civil lawsuits, the only thing necessary to consummate a settlement is for the parties to agree to a set of terms. As a Middle District of Georgia judge noted in a July 2023 opinion, that’s not true with FLSA cases. In these lawsuits, the law requires the court to review and approve any settlement.

The crux of this review and analysis process is ensuring the settlement’s reasonableness. A Northern District opinion — also from last month — explained that the judge must ensure the settlement “is a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute over FLSA provisions,” and must consider “both the rights of the settling employee and the interests of the public at large.”

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An internet meme about lawyers mines humor from the frequency with which attorneys answer questions with “It depends.” Truthfully, “it depends” very often is the right answer, as many legal disputes that appear similar may yield vastly differing results depending on any number of (or sometimes just a few) key factual distinctions. A reply of “it depends” reflects the many wrinkles and nuances within areas of the law, and that includes wage-and-hour law. That’s why, if you have questions about whether something is or is not compensable time under the Fair Labor Standards Act, it is wise to seek out knowledgeable answers from an experienced Atlanta wage-and-hour lawyer.

As a case in point, we can compare and contrast two cases regarding the compensability of time spent donning and removal of safety gear.

In the more recent unpaid hours dispute, the workers were a group of rig hands who worked for an oil company in Pennsylvania. As part of its set of safety rules, the employer required its rig hands to put on “flame-retardant coveralls, steel-toed boots, hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, and earplugs.”

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Sometimes, an unpaid overtime case is relatively straightforward. Other times, though, unpaid overtime cases can involve many layers and complexities, including issues like an employer’s potential immunity from liability. Whether you are an employee or an employer, it is crucially important to understand all of your rights and responsibilities under the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. If you have questions or concerns about those rights or responsibilities, you should seek out knowledgeable answers from an experienced Atlanta unpaid overtime lawyer.

If you’re suing a state agency, sovereign immunity may be an argument you encounter. A recent overtime dispute between the state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) and state troopers highlights a situation where workers were able to overcome a state agency’s assertion of immunity.

R.J. was one of several hundred men and women hired as state troopers with the Georgia State Patrol between 2014 and 2020. The DPS requires all of its state troopers to attend (and graduate from) a mandatory “trooper school.”

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