Many workers’ work schedules vary from week to week, both in terms of schedules and the total number of hours worked. The law allows employers whose employees work fluctuating workweeks several options for compensating those workers. Other methods for paying fluctuating-workweek employees, however, run afoul of the Fair Labor Standards Act. A knowledgeable Atlanta wage and hour lawyer can help determine if your method is compliant with the law and, if not, what the next steps should be.

While not technically a fluctuating-workweek matter, a recent federal court case from Pennsylvania offers an example of an employer who dealt with an employee’s changing schedule in a way that was permissible under the law.

The employee, S.W., was a direct care worker working for a home care company. Before she started with the employer, she signed a “Rate Sheet” that said her pay would be $11 per hour. The sheet, however, also said that her hourly wage could change if her hours went up or down.

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People with disabilities can be the targets of discrimination in a variety of ways. Sometimes it may include being denied housing or employment based on disabilities. Other times, it can include being denied the public facilities necessary to travel to and from one’s housing and/or job. Something as basic as sidewalk maintenance is something that, when not done properly, can result in discrimination against people with disabilities. When that happens, the Atlanta disability discrimination lawyers at our firm are here to help people vindicate their rights.

The most recent piece of news in this area comes from outside Georgia, where the City of Philadelphia agreed last month to settle a lawsuit regarding the disability discrimination that allegedly resulted from the city sidewalks’ state of disrepair.

The group who sued alleged that “the City’s sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks, and other paths of pedestrian travel are in a state of severe disrepair and disintegration” and the situation was so bad that it violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.

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Victims of workplace sexual harassment face many potential harms, both professionally and personally. Too many times, they have to fear that merely speaking up and calling out the harassment they endured will harm them, through job loss or other adverse employment action. When that happens, it’s called retaliation, and it’s against the law. If that has happened to you, you should get in touch with an experienced Atlanta workplace retaliation lawyer to discuss your situation.

C.B., an administrative assistant working for DeKalb County’s Facilities Management Department, allegedly endured both that kind of sexual harassment and that sort of illegal retaliation.

The assistant’s boss, the deputy director of facilities management, liked her work and positioned her for a promotion and a raise. The deputy director also apparently was sizing the assistant up for something more than a promotion.

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Today, more and more workers do their jobs via a computer. As most computer-based workers know, getting into (and out of) the programs and/or applications necessary to do your job can be time-consuming. What you may not know, however, is that the time spent waiting on a computer could be time that’s compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Whether you’re an employee or an employer, a knowledgeable Atlanta wage and hour lawyer can help you assess your situation for compliance with the law.

While not from here in Georgia, a recent FLSA case regarding computer-based workers shows how employees can be owed pay for these log-in and log-out times. The case pitted a group of Las Vegas-based customer service call center agents against their employer.

The employer required the call center agents first to log into the employer’s timekeeping program before logging into any other work-related programs. Allegedly, due to a series of variables, this process of reaching the timekeeping program could take as much as 20 minutes, with the average time ranging somewhere between seven and 12 minutes.

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For many workers in this so-called “gig” economy, one of the biggest issues they (and the entity that retains their services) must confront is whether that worker is an independent contractor (who is not covered by many of the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act) or an employee (who, unless exempt, generally is covered by the law.) Often, these classifications are inappropriate and the worker in question, based on the nature of his/her job, qualifies as an employee, not an independent contractor. When that happens, you may have a claim for compensation wrongfully denied to you, meaning you should get in touch with a knowledgeable Atlanta worker misclassification lawyer right away to discuss your circumstances.

A new proposed rule that the U.S. Department of Labor announced earlier this month could make it harder for employers to classify workers as independent contractors. The new rule seeks to limit independent contractor status only to those workers who, “as a matter of economic reality, are not economically dependent on their employer for work and are in business for themselves,” according to the Labor Department.

The existing rule has five “economic realities” to guide the classification of workers as independent contractors versus employees. The rule split those five into two “core factors,” which were the nature and degree of the hiring entity’s control over the work and the worker’s “opportunity for profit or loss,”  and three lesser factors, which were the degree of skill the work required, the extent to which the hiring entity-worker relationship was or was not a permanent one, and whether the worker’s work was part of an integrated unit of production.

In today’s world of smart devices, 5G wireless, and other technological advances, employers and employees are communicating in more ways than ever. Gone are the days when all employer-employee communications take place via face-to-face, writing, or telephone line. This modern reality also may have an impact on your Family and Medical Leave Act case, especially if your employer tries to oppose your submission of notice based on the media you used, not the content of the communication. As with all FMLA cases, the issues in your case may be intricate and complex, so you should not hesitate in retaining an experienced Atlanta FMLA lawyer.

In terms of modern media platforms and FMLA notice, the most recent case comes to us from West Virginia.

The employee, K.R., was an assembly line worker for an auto parts manufacturer. In June 2019, K.R. required an emergency appendectomy. K.R. sent his supervisor a communication explaining his situation via Facebook Messenger, which he and his supervisor earlier had used to discuss a previous illness that forced K.R. to miss work.

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One would hope that business owners and managers would always conduct themselves with professionalism and circumspection when dealing with inquiries from their employees. Reality tells us something different. Too many employers, when approached by an employee about issues like the employer’s pay practices, eschew restraint in favor of vindictive, vengeful retaliation. When that happens to you in the course of your job, do not be discouraged, as what your employer has done may entitle you to, with the help of a knowledgeable Atlanta workplace retaliation lawyer, recover compensation for a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

One such incident occurred here in North Georgia. Allegations against a DeKalb County brewery were numerous, including misclassification of employees as independent contractors.

However, one alleged transgression drew particular attention from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The allegation involved the treatment of two brewery employees who emailed the brewery’s owner to inquire about their wages and the employer’s rules about tip sharing.

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In many fields of employment, an employer may seek to obtain its employees’ signatures or agreements in which those workers sign away their right to sue in court for certain claims, such as unpaid overtime or minimum wage disputes. In place of a trial in court is a hearing before an arbitrator or arbitration panel. Employers insist on these agreements because, often, proceeding in arbitration as opposed to litigation works to the employer’s benefit and to the employee’s detriment. That’s why you should proceed with substantial care before such a waiver of your rights and, if you have questions or concerns, get in touch with a knowledgeable Atlanta minimum wage lawyer.

Not only can an agreement place you in the position of contesting your underlying claims before an arbitrator, but even the arguments you raise about the enforceability of the arbitration agreement itself may also have to be contested in that same arbitration setting.

That was the bad news for some workers who sued in federal court in New York alleging they were illegally underpaid. The plaintiffs were workers at various locations of a center that spread the teachings of Kabbalah. These were workers who, when they joined the center, signed vows of poverty. They received “cash allowances or monthly stipends,” housing, food, and clothing. They received no other compensation for their work.

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In a lot of walks of life, some people like to say that “timing is everything.” If you’ve endured employment discrimination in Georgia, timing isn’t everything when it comes to succeeding in a civil action, but it may be the only thing that matters if you fail to meet the law’s filing deadlines. The crucial importance of timely filings — and the catastrophic havoc missed deadlines can create — are just further evidence of why, if you’re the victim of age discrimination at work, you need to ensure you retain the services of a skilled Atlanta age discrimination lawyer right away.

In most discrimination cases, one of your first deadlines is the one for filing a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As one recent age discrimination case from here in North Georgia illustrates, missing this deadline can be devastating to your case.

The time period for filing this EEOC charge varies by state. For most types of discrimination claims, the deadline is 300 days if the state has its own fair employment practices agency (or a local agency) that enforces state/local laws prohibiting that type of discrimination. These kinds of states are called “deferral states.” Continue reading ›

Many times in life, things are not necessarily what they seem on the surface. That can be true in the law, too. Your discrimination, harassment, or workplace retaliation case might, to some, not seem like much on the surface but, in the eyes and hands of a skillful Atlanta employment retaliation lawyer, it might become something more — a much clearer violation of employment law and a powerful claim for relief.

One scenario occurs when an employer’s adverse action, in a vacuum, seems permissible but, when viewed in the larger prism, demonstrates an inconsistent application of its policies motivated by illegal retaliation or discrimination.  A real-life case from outside Georgia offers a clear illustration of this.

The employee, A.W., was a man displeased with the new overtime policy his employer had unilaterally instituted, which called for the posting of a sign-up board upon which workers signed up for overtime shifts. Workers who signed up for a shift and then did not work the shift faced potential discipline, which was a change from the old rules.

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