Articles Posted in Wage & Hour Issues

Everyone wants to be paid fairly, from the most modestly paid fast food worker to the most highly compensated executive. Even judges want to be paid every penny that they are due. In addition to state and federal laws regarding wage and hour issues, there may be other remedies available to a worker who believes that he or she has not been paid fairly. An Atlanta employment law attorney can explain the process of seeking back pay or other compensation that you may be due if  you suspect that your employer has acted illegally with regards to payment of your salary or wages.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a state court county judge who filed a petition seeking a writ of mandamus against the defendants, a county and several of its commissioners. According to the plaintiff, she was owed back pay and other relief due to the defendants’ violation of Georgia Constitution of 1983, Article VI, § VII, Part V. The constitutional provision upon which the plaintiff relied states, in essence, that an incumbent judge’s salary, allowance, or supplement is not to be decreased during his or her term of office; the plaintiff averred that the county had improperly calculated her salary, resulting in an illegal reduction in her overall compensation each year from 2007 to 2017.

The trial court ruled in the defendants’ favor, holding that the plaintiff’s mandamus action was barred by gross laches but, even if it was not, mandamus was not an appropriate vehicle for the relief sought by the plaintiff and, even if mandamus was proper, there was no merit to the plaintiff’s claims.

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Each Atlanta employment law case is unique, with its own set of facts and issues. In addition to matters such as sexual harassment and employment discrimination, the issue of compensation is fairly common.

Disputes about an employee’s pay can occur at many different pay levels, from employees who maintain that they were not paid even the federally mandated minimum wage to professionals who claim that they were not compensated according to a written or oral agreement between them and the business for which they worked. At the end of the day, everyone – from the lowest paid to the most highly compensated individuals – want a fair wage for the work they have done.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a man who had an unpaid clerking position with the defendant law firm while he was attending law school. After obtaining his license, the plaintiff accepted a job as a “contract associate” with the firm. Via an employment agreement (in the form of a letter), the law firm agreed to compensate the plaintiff for his services by paying him a part of the fee earned by the firm upon the resolution of cases in which he was involved. The exact amount of compensation was not specified but was to be determined on a case by case basis.

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There are many different issues that can arise in an Atlanta employment law dispute. In addition to matters like discrimination and harassment, an employee may seek legal redress for unpaid or underpaid wages.

Sometimes, such a claim is pursued under state or federal wage-and-hours laws, but this is not always the case.

Depending upon the circumstances, a breach of contract action may provide a viable remedy for an employee who believes that he or she has not received the pay that he or she was rightly due.

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Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, most employees are entitled to a minimum wage, as well as certain overtime pay benefits. An employee who believes that his or her employer has acted wrongfully under the Act should consult an attorney about the possibility of filing an Atlanta wage and hour lawsuit.

In such a suit, the plaintiff has the burden of proof, meaning that he or she must be able to convince the court of his or her entitlement to relief by a preponderance of the evidence.

If he or she is unable to do so, it is likely that the case will be dismissed on summary judgment or at trial.

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Under state and federal law, there are several different types of claims that may arise in an Atlanta wage and hour violation case, including allegations of unpaid overtime, unpaid hours, minimum wage violations, and/or misclassifications. It is important to contact an attorney promptly if you believe that your employer has violated these or other employment-related laws.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs in a recent case were current or former employees of a certain manufacturer of portable storage buildings in Swainsboro, Georgia. They filed suit against the defendants, the manufacturer and its chief executive officer, in 2017, asserting a putative class action arising from what the plaintiffs characterized as an “illegal payday lending scheme within the manufacturing facility.” (Certification as a class action was later denied.)

An Atlanta employment law case can be complicated by several factors – including the closing of a business or the legal status of a business’s owners. In a recent federal case, the business in question had been established through a rather complex series of agreements between various parties.

When the dust finally settled, a federal appeals court was called upon to determine whether one particular business owner could be held personally liable for the plaintiffs’ employment law claims, even though he was not the “bad actor” whose actions led to the lawsuit.

Facts of the Case

In a recent (unreported) federal appellate case, the plaintiffs were the former general manager and executive chef of an Atlanta restaurant that closed its doors after the plaintiffs and others had filed a number of claims against its owners, including the one defendant (a local celebrity/promoter who conducted business through a limited liability company) who remained in the case when it reached the court of appeals. The plaintiffs’ claims included allegations of breach of contract, failure to pay minimum wage and overtime wages, and fraud.

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There are several different issues that may arise in a Georgia wage and hour case. One of these issues is the question of whether a worker has been properly classified as an employee or as an independent contractor.

This is an important distinction because independent contractors are usually exempt from the requirements of federal law concerning matters like minimum wage and overtime.

Facts

The plaintiff in a recent case was a dancer who alleged that the defendant entertainment establishment owners had failed to pay her in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, (FLSA), codified at U.S.C. § 201 et seq. According to the plaintiff, the defendants misclassified her as an “independent contractor” when she was, in fact, an employee who was entitled to receive minimum wage under FLSA.

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Under federal law, there are certain rules and regulations that govern the manner in which employees are paid. While some workers are exempt from these provisions, most are included.

Those whose employers have acted in violation of these or other laws concerning fair payment of wages may be able to recover money damages through an Atlanta wage and hour lawsuit. Because there is a limited time for taking legal action in such a situation, it is important to speak to a lawyer promptly if you think you have a potential wage and hour law case.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiffs were drivers and laborers employed by the defendant disposal services company. In a complaint filed in federal court, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had either underpaid them or had failed to pay them for overtime hours in violation of § 207 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The plaintiffs further alleged that the defendant’s practices also affected other similarly situated workers employed. According to the plaintiffs’ complaint, although their pay stubs purported to reflect both regular and overtime rates, the plaintiffs contended that these rates were intentionally manipulated by the defendant to make it appear that the plaintiffs were receiving overtime pay when, in fact, they were not.

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In recent months, one of the emerging issues within employment law has centered on whether groups of workers are employees or independent contractors. Recent cases from Georgia have focused on whether exotic dancers are independent contractors or employees of the clubs where they dance, with the dancers achieving a favorable ruling in at least one instance. A group of freelance stagehands obtained a less successful outcome recently, with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals deciding that they were not employees of a referral service.

The referral agency, Crew One Productions, Inc., provided workers for live events in Atlanta and surrounding areas. The stagehands referred by Crew One worked a variety of events, ranging from concerts and sporting events to plays, trade shows, and graduations. Crew One would contract with the event planner for a number of stagehands and a specific hourly rate of pay. Crew One, which maintained a database of stagehands willing to consider taking assignments from the agency, would contact members of its database and obtain a number of available workers matching the number the event planner needed.

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‘Tis the season for holidays and, presumably, some time off with family and friends. Before finalizing any plans for an extended break, however, you might want to check the schedule at work. While spending days like Christmas and New Year’s opening gifts or lazing out to a string of bowl games seems like a no-brainer, for most workers in Georgia and Tennessee, there’s no law that says your employer can’t make you work those days.

For some jobs, like emergency services, restaurants, and retail, the notion that some people are stuck working on holidays seems pretty obvious. Less obvious to many people, though, is that neither Georgia nor Tennessee prohibits private employers—as opposed to state or municipal agencies—from requiring workers to come in on statutory holidays.

That means if the accounting firm or metal shop you work for decides December 25 should be business as usual, you’re expected to show up unless you’ve otherwise requested and been granted the time off. And there aren’t any guaranteed perks for being stuck at work while everyone else you know is home. If your employer is offering something like time and half for coming in on a holiday, that’s solely at its discretion. The only guaranteed extra pay is whatever you’d already be eligible for if the holiday sent you into overtime.

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