When you seek to defeat your employer’s motion for summary judgment in your discrimination case, you may have multiple avenues through which you can do that. One is to provide the court “a convincing mosaic of circumstantial evidence that raises a reasonable inference that the employer discriminated against” you. A knowledgeable Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer can help you ensure you’re amassing and presenting the evidence you need to defeat your employer’s motion and get your day in court before a jury.

M.B. was a Black man whose race discrimination case advanced using that “mosaic” method.

M.B. began working at a manufacturing facility in Flowery Branch in 2006. He rose to shift lead but never ascended any higher. That professional stagnation was not for lack of trying. From February 2017 to January 2018 alone, he applied for promotions five different times. Five times the employer turned him down.

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When an employer denies a worker a promotion, fires them, or refuses to hire them because they’re over 40, that decision potentially represents a violation of federal law (the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).) If you’ve encountered an age discrimination issue — whether as an employee or an employer — an experienced Atlanta age discrimination lawyer can help you map out the path forward that is the most advantageous given your specific circumstances.

Observers have noted that age discrimination actions are on the rise. That includes here in Georgia.

In one recent age discrimination case, the employer was an Alpharetta-based manufacturer of connectors used in medical devices. Allegedly, after the employer named a new CEO in 2016 and a new president in 2019, the pair embarked on a plan to get rid of all the company’s older management employees and sales workers, replacing them with a new, younger staff.

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In an important new ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court recently clarified the standards under which a worker does (or does not) qualify as a salaried exempt employee for purposes of overtime compensation. The 6-3 decision in favor of an oil rig worker clarifies that just because an employee earns a very high income, that does not automatically mean that he/she is an exempt employee. Regardless of how much you make, if you think that you meet the legal standards for a non-exempt employee, then you may be entitled to overtime pay and if your employer didn’t compensate you accordingly, you potentially can, with the aid of the right Atlanta unpaid overtime lawyer, win compensation in a Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit.

The worker, M.H., worked as a tool pusher on an offshore oil rig. That job typically entailed the employee working 12-14 hours per day, seven days per week for a stint of four weeks, followed by four weeks off. The employer paid the pusher a daily rate of $963. All totaled, the worker earned more than $200,000 annually.

Neither the worker nor the employer argued that 29 CFR 541.604(b) applied to the pusher’s circumstance. That’s the federal regulation that says that if a worker receives extra pay based on his/her work hours, he/she can still be an exempt employee so long as there was a “reasonable relationship” between the worker’s periodic salary and the amount the worker actually earned each period.

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In cases of employment discrimination and retaliation, the worker’s ability to pursue that claim in court depends on more than just the strength of the factual evidence he/she has. The law imposes certain requirements that, if not satisfied, can completely derail the worker’s case. One of these is something called the “exhaustion of administrative remedies,” which means going through the proper administrative agency before suing in court. Whether you’re a worker or an employer, issues like exhaustion can dramatically alter the trajectory of your case, and these issues represent just one of the countless reasons why it pays to have a knowledgeable Atlanta employment retaliation lawyer handling your case.

One U.S. Postal Service employee recently lost his claim for this reason. The worker, E.E., was an African-American male and mail handler. In 2003, the handler suffered a lower-back injury that impaired his ability to do “repetitive motions such as bending, lifting, twisting, and turning.”

In 2016, the handler’s supervisor assigned him to a “modified job position.” That new position had the impact of reducing the handler’s daily hours by 75%, which also triggered a reduction in his pay. In response, the handler filed a race and disability discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A few months later, the supervisor allegedly retaliated against the handler because he complained to the EEOC.

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Today, remote work is more common than ever before, with much of explosion coming in the last 2-3 years. With that vast growth of people working from home comes new and different ways that employers can run afoul of federal wage and hour laws. If you’re a non-exempt employee working from home and your employer has denied you the leave, breaks, or other benefits that federal law mandates, check with a knowledgeable Atlanta wage and hour lawyer to find out how best to protect yourself.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued an important new “field assistance bulletin” document discussing this cutting-edge issue implicating the Fair Labor Standards Act, break rules, and remote workers who are non-exempt employees.

Field assistance bulletins are documents that lack the force of a statute or a regulation, but they do represent important reflections of Labor Department policy and the federal government’s view on the correct interpretation of various laws and/or regulations.

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If your employer has denied you overtime pay that you earned, you potentially have several possible legal options. You can seek compensation individually, you can initiate a class action, or you can pursue a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Determining which avenue makes the most sense can be a complicated and nuanced legal determination, so make sure you get the advice you need from an experienced Atlanta unpaid overtime lawyer before you start.

Earlier this month, one north Georgia nurse achieved an important success in her unpaid overtime case, successfully persuading the federal district court in Atlanta to approve her collective action.

The nurse was a Gwinnett County woman who worked as a “medical management nurse” for a major insurance company. Her main duty (along with the primary duty of several colleagues with various titles) centered on performing medical necessity reviews for the employer. That entailed “reviewing medical authorization requests submitted by healthcare providers against pre-determined guidelines and criteria for insurance coverage.”

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Ours is a national and, in many cases, global economy. The realities of the world of work often include job changes or promotions that necessarily include relocation to a new state. If that’s happened to you and you’ve also suffered discrimination on the job, your case potential can present some unique challenges, such as a case that starts in one state but later gets transferred to another. If you’ve brought your lawsuit in Georgia — or the other side has successfully gotten your case moved to Georgia — then you need to be sure you have a skilled Georgia lawyer to represent you in your action.

A recruiter who relocated to Georgia was someone in that sort of position. C.J., a Black woman, worked for a company in suburban Detroit. C.J. was very successful at her job and earned a promotion to “field distribution leader.” As part of this new role, C.J. was tasked with launching a new program for the employer in Georgia, so she moved here.

Two years later, the company underwent a round of layoffs. The employer gave the workers two options: apply for one of the remaining positions or take early retirement. C.J. applied for a director role and a specialist job but got neither position, so she sued for age discrimination (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) and race discrimination (Title VII).

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In wage and hour law, as with any area of the law, there are issues that arise with elevated frequency at certain moments in time. (For example, a few years ago the courts saw a flurry of employee-versus-independent-contractor misclassification cases involving exotic dancers.) More recently, an issue before multiple different courts involves employers taking automatic meal-break deductions, regardless of whether the workers got their full break (or any break at all) or not. When this happens, it may constitute a Fair Labor Standards Act violation for which you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced Atlanta wage-and-hour lawyer can tell you more about whether your situation represents a violation of the law.

One of the most recent incidents occurred to our north, where Ohio workers initiated a class action against their employer, a medical company that owns hospitals, rehab centers, and clinics. According to the workers, the employer had a practice of automatically deducting 1/2 hour from their hours to account for each worker’s meal break. The alleged problem was, however, that the realities of the workplace (especially during periods of understaffing) meant that workers often had to work through lunch or were able only to take abbreviated meal breaks. Even when those circumstances arose, the employer still took the automatic 30-minute deduction, according to the complaint.

On that basis, the workers alleged that the employer violated the FLSA by failing to pay overtime wages the workers earned. The class that the workers proposed was an expansive one; namely, “all current and former hourly, non-exempt direct care employees of defendant who had a meal break deduction applied to their hours worked in any workweek where they were paid for at least forty (40) hours of work.”

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An ongoing case in federal court in Macon represents a potentially important data point in an emerging area of Fair Labor Standards Act misclassification litigation: lawsuits between big agribusiness entities and the farmers with whom they work. These farmers are typically classified by the agribusiness companies as independent contractors, but now the farmers are suing, alleging that they actually are employees. As with any industry or field of business, if you think you’ve been illegally classified as an independent contractor, you should get in touch with an Atlanta employment misclassification lawyer right away.

The workers making up the class were a group of chicken farmers. The purported employer was a poultry processing company (the third largest in the country) that classified the farmers as independent contractors.

The farmers argued that the evidence they presented demonstrated a relationship where the poultry company retained an extremely high degree of control over the farmers, which is generally a hallmark of an employee-employer relationship, not an independent contractor-principal one. Although the company promised the farmers independence, it actually held the reigns over “virtually every aspect” of the farmers’ operations, according to the complaint. This allegedly included demanding specific “feed, medication, vaccinations”, and more, including barns.

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Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that employment discrimination based on workers’ sexual orientations or gender identities constituted violations of Title VII. Since that time, the exact extent of federal law’s protection against gender identity discrimination remains an issue that is still developing. Whether you’re a worker who believes you’ve suffered this sort of harm or you’re an employer facing this type of charge, you definitely should consult a knowledgeable Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer with all due haste, who can advise you on the latest developments in the law and what your next steps should be.

As an illustration, we can look at all that has taken place just in the last six months.

In August, the Georgia Department of Corrections won a victory in a case regarding the interplay of preferred pronouns and gender identity discrimination. The employee, T.C. was a trans man who was AFAB (“assigned female at birth” or “born a biological female.”) In 2017, T.C. began hormone therapy. A year later, he legally changed his name.

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