A few months ago, this blog looked at the impact of the Fair Labor Standards Act on remote workers, including new moms who are breastfeeding or expressing milk during the workday. Today, we’re going to look at a related but separate group: pumping moms working at the employer’s worksite. Whether an employee is or is not remote, she has certain rights under federal law. So, if you’re an employer seeking to ensure compliance or you’re a worker who has been mistreated regarding your pumping, it is well worth your while to contact an experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyer to get answers to your questions.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued a field assistance bulletin on this topic. Field assistance bulletins don’t carry the force of law, but the courts may rely on them as a persuasive (but not precedential) authority.

That May 2023 bulletin followed in the wake of President Biden’s signing into law the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act) in late December 2022.

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Currently, the law allows restaurant employers to pay employees a base rate below the mandatory minimum wage as long as those workers ultimately end up receiving total compensation that works out to be more than the minimum hourly requirement (which, here in Georgia, is $7.25.) If you find it necessary to pursue this kind of minimum wage lawsuit (or defend against one,) it’s important to recognize the many federal rules of procedure that may play a role in your case. Ensuring that the rules of procedure do not trip up your case (or your defense as an employer) is one area where a skilled Atlanta wage and hour lawyer can be invaluable.

Here’s a recent example from federal court minimum wage action to illustrate what we mean.

The plaintiffs were a group of servers at a high-end restaurant. Their employer charged customers a preset gratuity that it automatically added to diners’ bills and then split those “service charges” among the servers. In addition, the servers also received a base pay of $5.65 per hour.

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The emergence of memes involving the derisive phrase “OK boomer” is a reminder that age-based bias is as pervasive as ever (if not more so) across America and here in Georgia. While some age-biased insults may be merely rude or in poor taste, other times, they represent something very profoundly damaging and harmful. When this kind of injurious conduct occurs in the workplace, it may represent an instance of illegal age discrimination. Whether you are an employer or an older employee, if you think you’re dealing with age discrimination issues, contact an experienced Atlanta age discrimination lawyer to find out what your next steps should be.

“OK boomer” may be the most on-trend age-related barb, but it is far from the only one. Recently, one Georgia worker reached a successful settlement of her Age Discrimination in Employment Act case where those sorts of issues played a role.

The employee, L.C., was an Atlanta-area woman who worked for a major information services company in a sales representative role. According to the employee’s ADEA lawsuit filed here in the Northern District of Georgia last June, L.C.’s supervisor called her names like “old dinosaur” and also opined that she was so old that she could not figure out newer technologies.

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TV and theatrical depictions of lawyers and litigation often take a great degree of “artistic license.” (Scenes inside a courtroom room rarely look like what happens on a Law and Order show.) One thing shows and movies get right, though, is a good attorney’s ability to spot weaknesses in the other side’s position. On the screen, the lawyer may catch the person in a lie outright. In the real world, it more often relates to a skilled Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer’s ability to spot inconsistencies and expose them to undermine the other side’s credibility.

To avoid falling victim to this pitfall — whether you’re an employee alleging discrimination or an employer defending against such a charge — it is vital to ensure that you’ve maintained proper and complete documentation of the events that preceded the litigation and make sure that they consistently “sing from the same sheet of music,” so to speak. As an employer, that includes documenting all the steps you took before firing an employee, such as performance improvement plans and disciplinary actions.

For example, take the race discrimination case of an engineering and consulting firm and one of its project coordinators who worked in North Georgia. The coordinator, a Black woman, worked in Kennesaw for five years. During that time, she said she endured racial discrimination on multiple occasions.

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When it comes to determining compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements, it’s essential to understand that not all workers receive pay 100% in the form of cash. Some may receive compensation through housing, meals, or other non-cash forms. Even if you’re receiving in-kind or non-monetary compensation, it’s still possible for your employer to violate minimum wage laws, as a group of thrift store workers alleged in a recent federal action here in Georgia. If you believe you’ve encountered that kind of illegal treatment, don’t wait to take action. Get in touch with a knowledgeable Atlanta minimum wage lawyer to find out what next steps you should take.

Those thrift store workers worked at the Salvation Army’s stores in several southern states. According to all of the workers, the Salvation Army ran “residential adult rehabilitation centers and adult rehabilitation programs,” and used those rehab participants to staff its thrift stores.

Salvation Army thrift stores are big business, bringing in close to $600 million in revenue in 2019 alone. Here in the United States, the Salvation Army is separately incorporated in each of four regions. The federal case here in Atlanta is one of three. Thrift store workers recently achieved similar successes in overcoming the Salvation Army’s dismissal efforts in federal lawsuits in Chicago and New York City.

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When your employer illegally interferes with your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or retaliates against you for invoking those rights, you may be entitled to seek a civil judgment and recover compensation based on those violations. Winning an FMLA interference claim or FMLA retaliation claim requires a lot of things, including in-depth knowledge of the law, proper awareness of (and compliance with) all the rules of procedure, and excellent skill at making the necessary allegations and arguments to get your case past your employer’s motion for summary judgment or motion to dismiss. In other words, the best chance of success lies in retaining a skilled Atlanta FMLA lawyer.

A recent FMLA ruling by the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeal (whose rulings control federal cases in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama,) highlights the profound risks (and high-stakes downsides) that can come with taking on your case without counsel.

S.N. worked for a cancer treatment center. Sometime before October 2019, S.N. allegedly sought (and the employer approved) a period of FMLA leave. The employer subsequently terminated S.N.’s employment, according to her federal court complaint.

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Workers who make the decision to continue navigating the workplace during (or very shortly after) their pregnancies face many potential challenges, from the logistical to the physical to the emotional. What they shouldn’t have to face is discrimination on the job because they’re continuing to work while pregnant or nursing an infant. Currently, the Georgia General Assembly is considering a bill that would provide very substantial new protections for pregnant workers in this state. Already, federal law prohibits many forms of discrimination against pregnant or breastfeeding/nursing mothers so, if you’ve suffered professional harm because you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you owe it to yourself to contact a knowledgeable Atlanta pregnancy discrimination lawyer to discuss your situation.

The Pregnancy Protection Act would prohibit a variety of employment practices that would, according to the bill, constitute pregnancy discrimination. One crucial element of the bill would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for workers who are pregnant.

Under the act, possible reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers would include things like “longer breaks, time off to recover from childbirth, time off for medical appointments, absences related to medical needs for pregnancy, acquisition or modification of equipment, seating, temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, job restructuring, light duty, break time and private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk, assistance with manual labor, or modified work schedules.”

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The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants important rights to many workers across the country. The statute also erects some specific obligations on both workers and employers. A worker’s failure to meet their obligations can result in a loss of eligibility for leave, while an employer’s failure to follow the rules can come with a substantial cost, as well. Whether you’re on the employer side or worker side, it pays to ensure that you are following the FMLA’s rules with precision, and a knowledgeable Atlanta FMLA leave lawyer can help you do exactly that.

Recently, a Georgia employer’s failure to meet its FMLA obligations came with the cost of a U.S. Department of Labor investigation and a payment of $67,140 to one of its workers.

The worker was a dock supervisor at a logistics company’s Covington facility. As he prepared for the arrival of his new child in the Spring of 2022, the supervisor submitted a request to take FMLA leave to bond with his new baby and to care for his ill spouse.

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For transgender workers in Georgia, the potential to be harmed by discrimination exists on several fronts. Even if an employer refrains from any adverse action directly related to the worker’s performance of their job, other ways to harm that worker still exist, such as the denial of insurance coverage for necessary treatments connected to their transgender condition. When a Georgia employer erects a carve-out in its insurance plan that specifically targets treatments designed for transgender people, then that employer has potentially engaged in gender identity discrimination in violation of Title VII… as well as disability discrimination in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. When that happens, be sure to contact an experienced Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer to find out how to protect your rights.

A.L., whose case this blog covered last year, was one of those employees. A.L. was a sheriff’s deputy in Houston County and a trans woman. The deputy’s medical providers diagnosed her with gender dysphoria and recommended hormone treatment, breast implants, and a vaginoplasty.

The employer’s health insurance refused to cover the care. As the deputy pointed out, the plan was discriminatory, covering hormone treatments when doctors prescribed them in relation to a woman’s menopause, but not in relation to a trans woman’s transition. Additionally, the plan covered mastectomies when needed as part of cancer treatment, but excluded them when they were part of a trans man’s gender dysphoria care.

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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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