When this blog looks at recent case decisions, we often explore outcomes where an injured worker was successful. Sometimes, though, cases that ended unsuccessfully provide the best lessons and tips for a worker contemplating a discrimination lawsuit. Of course, whether it involves utilizing cases where the other worker won or lost, count on a knowledgeable Atlanta age discrimination lawyer to take the law, alongside the specific facts of your situation, and combine them for the strongest possible case.

The age discrimination case of R.W. is good example of how another worker’s failure may help pave the way for your success. R.W., the deputy fire chief for a city just south of Macon, responded to a fire alert he received on his cell phone at roughly 8:00 p.m. one night in 2018.

The deputy chief’s regular shift ended at 5:00 and, in the intervening three hours, he allegedly drank one 24-ounce beer. At the scene, a lieutenant and an assistant chief each allegedly noticed the smell of alcohol on the deputy chief’s breath. The deputy chief also allegedly was “slurring his speech a little.” The deputy chief denied having consumed alcohol.

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Employers in the auto services industry improperly paying their workers in ways that do not comply with federal minimum wage and/or overtime laws is not uncommon. In fiscal year 2021 alone, The U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division performed more than 500 investigations of employers in the auto services industry. In total, the Labor Department found that more than 3,500 workers had been illegally shortchanged. The division recovered more than $4 million in back wages. If you think your employer has illegally miscalculated your overtime rate, your compensable hours, or otherwise violated the law, it is well worth your while to contact an experienced Atlanta minimum wage and unpaid overtime lawyer.

Most recently, the Wage and Hour Division launched an investigation into a tire and auto service shop in Canton. At the investigation’s end, the Labor Department concluded that the shop had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by improperly underpaying 19 workers a total of more than $161,000.

One violation related to withheld paychecks. For some of the workers, the employer did not pay them anything during their first pay period. The employers say the held-back paychecks were a uniform deposit. The Labor Department said it was an FLSA violation.

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Over the last decade-plus, much has been made about the way Americans obtain healthcare services and health insurance. Even after the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most Americans still get their health insurance coverage via their employer. Given the cost of healthcare in this country, employer-provided health insurance coverage often represents one of the more important terms and conditions of any job. That means that a denial of coverage on an improper basis can constitute illegal discrimination. If it’s happened to you, a knowledgeable Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer can help you learn more about protecting your rights.

One Georgia deputy’s discrimination case represents an important area where employer-provided health insurance coverage issues may constitute a Title VII violation: exclusions from coverage for gender-affirming care.

In 2018, A.L., a trans woman and a deputy in the Houston County Sheriff’s Office, notified her employer that she was trans and began transitioning. She underwent hormone therapy and “top surgery.” (Top surgery, according to the Mayo Clinic, seeks to “increase breast size and change the shape of the chest” to make it more feminine in appearance.)

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With any field of professional knowledge, from engineering to law to medicine to finance to plumbing, certain misconceptions can take root. That’s why, when you have a problem that involves a field of specialized knowledge, it pays to retain a seasoned pro. The right professional can provide you with the correct answers to your issues. That’s especially true when it comes to the benefits an experienced Atlanta workplace retaliation lawyer can provide in your retaliation case.

Many laypeople might look at a case where a worker alleges they were harmed by discrimination and/or harassment, along with retaliation, and assume that if the underlying discrimination/harassment case fails, the retaliation claim would necessarily go down with it. And they’d be wrong, as a recent retaliation case from Columbus, Georgia shows.

The plaintiff, H.H., was a woman working at a Columbus “wholesale club” store. After the store hired A.O., a Hispanic man, he allegedly began sexually harassing the woman, making numerous inappropriate comments about the woman’s sex life.

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Every winning case begins with several essential ingredients. One of those is a well-written complaint filed in the correct court. If you are someone who believes that your employer has denied you the overtime pay you were legally owed, then you should get in touch with an experienced Atlanta unpaid overtime lawyer, who can take the steps necessary to ensure that you have the well-written complaint and the powerful evidence you need for success.

That’s especially true if your case involves some unique facts. In some job settings, the total number of hours you worked can be fairly black-and-white. Other times it’s not, like when you’re a worker whose job mandated a certain number of “on-call” hours?

That was the circumstance for several employees of a pathology service entity in Gwinnett County. The workers put in an 8am-4pm schedule weekdays in an office in Lawrenceville. In addition, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that they had “on-call” hours, which were “from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. two or three nights a week and all weekend twice a month,” according to the workers’ lawsuit.

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You’ve finally done it. With the help of your skillful Atlanta minimum wage and unpaid overtime lawyer, you’ve successfully negotiated the terms of a settlement that’s agreeable to both sides. The defense gets to stop litigating and you get compensated. So, getting your check and dismissing your case are all that’s left, right?

Actually, no. There is another part of the settlement process upon which the defense will almost inevitably insist (and you should, too.) That’s the “release agreement.” The release agreement is a contract that says that in exchange for the defense making payment and you dismissing your case, there are certain things each side agrees to do and/or not do. This agreement might seem like a mere formality, but it’s actually very important. You need to ensure that the agreement you sign does not contain overly broad or imprecise language that potentially inhibits your ability to seek compensation for other non-FLSA-related transgressions in which your employer may have engaged.

As an example, there’s this Fair Labor Standards Act case from south Georgia. The employer was a property cleanup and restoration business in Brunswick, and the plaintiffs were two of its employees. (The specifics of the alleged violations weren’t relevant to the court’s ruling, so the judge did not discuss them.)

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A situation where an employer terminated or demoted an employee shortly after that employee made a complaint about illegal discrimination or harassment is one possible example of impermissible retaliation. However, what can constitute actionable retaliation goes way beyond that. If your employer took punitive action against you because you spoke up against illegal employment practices, then you should get in touch with a knowledgeable Atlanta employment retaliation case.

As an example of how broadly the law against retaliation stretches, there is this case from neighboring Alabama, in which the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions control federal cases in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida) entered a decision in January.

The worker, J.S., was an administrative assistant working for a local police department in suburban Birmingham. In the summer of 2015, the police chief denied the assistant’s request to take a day off using her compensatory time. As a result, the assistant made a formal written complaint to human resources accusing the chief of sex discrimination. The complaint alleged that the chief treated J.S. differently than the department’s male employees when it came to approving the use of earned compensatory time.

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Employers may engage in a variety of improper actions when it comes to your requesting, using, or returning from leave to which you are entitled under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This misconduct can range from erecting onerous and unnecessary documentation requirements to counting your FMLA leave against for purposes of punitive “occurrence-based” attendance policies, just to name two. If you’ve encountered an employer making things needlessly difficult or otherwise punishing you for seeking or using FMLA leave, that potentially counts as interference, which is against the law. An experienced FMLA interference lawyer can help you assess how best to proceed based on the facts of your situation.

That issue of FMLA interference came up once again in a recent case from the federal courts. The employee, J.P., worked at a paper mill that had an occurrence-based attendance policy.

From December 2017 to August 2018, J.P. took three periods of FMLA leave. That last period ended on August 5. On August 6, J.P. returned to work. The next day, however, an operations manager told him to leave and to return with a “medical release” from his physician. J.P. did as instructed and, as a result, the employer counted his leaving work early on August 7 as a separate and additional occurrence.

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Regrettably, employee misclassifications occur all too frequently. Sometimes, they may be the result of good-faith errors. Other times, though, the employer knew (or should have known) that it was not following the law. When that happens, you can seek a finding in your unpaid overtime case that your employer willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, which can greatly enhance the compensation you can receive. If you think your employer willfully broke the law, you need an experienced Atlanta unpaid overtime lawyer to help you get everything to which the law entitles you.

J.M. was one of those people. She worked for a company that provided “in-home healthcare and companion services.” According to her lawsuit, J.M. frequently worked more than 80 hours a week. However, she received only $1,500 per month for her work. The employer allegedly never paid J.M. any overtime for any of the hours she worked.

The employer did this by classifying J.M. as an independent contractor rather than an employee. J.M.’s lawsuit asserted that her independent contractor status was a misclassification, that the employer knew (or ought to have known) it was a misclassification, and that the employer willfully violated the FLSA.

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Mental health conditions can be challenging things for those who have them. People may fail to understand your condition, may fail to appreciate the severity of the condition, or otherwise not treat the condition with the care necessary. When those failures have an impact on your job, they may represent disability discrimination in violation of the law. If you’ve endured such a scenario, an experienced Atlanta disability discrimination lawyer may be able to help.

Recently, news sources around the world reported on the case of a Kentucky man who recovered a six-figure civil judgment. Some headlines appeared to say that the man received a $450,000 payday because his employer threw him a birthday party he didn’t want.

The truth, as is often the case, was far more complex. The employee was a man who had an anxiety disorder that intermittently triggered panic attacks. One such trigger was being placed at the center of attention, such as celebrations of his birthday.

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