Articles Posted in Wage & Hour

Generally speaking, the person who files an Atlanta employment law case gets choose the court (state or federal) in which the matter will ultimately be tried. However, there are some situations in which this is not so.

For instance, the employee may choose to file his or her lawsuit in state court, only to have the employer remove the case to federal court based on diversity of citizenship jurisdiction. (Sometimes, it is possible to have the federal court send the matter back to state court (although this is the exception, not the rule).)

As for the reasons for choosing state court instead of federal court (or wanting a case removed to federal court after it has been filed in state court), the reasons tend to be very specific to an individual situation. In one case, there may be a belief that one court or the other may yield a result that is more favorable, or it could be that one court has a lengthy backlog of cases such that it will take substantially longer to get to trial. Location and convenience (or the added expense of inconvenience) may also factor in.

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Filing an Atlanta employment law claim can be a complicated endeavor. Unlike many other types of cases, there may be pre-filing requirements that, if not complied with, can result in a claim be dismissed later on.

If you believe that your employer has violated state or federal law, it is important to talk to an experienced attorney about your situation as soon as possible. An attorney can explain your legal rights, help you investigate your case, and make sure all the appropriate paperwork is filed in a timely manner.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a woman who went to work as an employee financial representative for the defendant company in 2013 and had exemplary job performance for her first two years of employment. After witnessing her husband commit suicide in 2015, however, the plaintiff’s work performance suffered because she was grief-stricken and emotionally raw. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, a few months after her husband’s death, the plaintiff reportedly requested an accommodation, but both her manager and his supervisor refused her request. Thereafter, the plaintiff was granted short-term disability leave. About a year later, the plaintiff was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Her work performance continued to deteriorate, her requests for a transfer to a different office were denied, and she was eventually terminated.

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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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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.)

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are obligated to pay employees in accordance with certain statutes, rules, and regulations. Failure to do so can result in an Atlanta employment lawsuit being brought against the employer under the Act.

Generally speaking, an employee who is fired in retaliation for asserting his or her rights under the Act may, additionally, be able to pursue a claim for retaliatory discharge. However, a recent case explained that there are some exceptions to this general rule.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a man who worked for the defendant security company for about a year between July 2015 and July 2016. In September 2017, the plaintiff filed suit against the defendant, claiming that it had fired him in retaliation for his complaints about the defendant’s alleged violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to the plaintiff, the defendant had violated the overtime pay requirements of FLSA, stolen wages owed to him under FLSA, and failed to pay minimum wage under FLSA.

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If your employer is shaving your hours, don’t think you’re powerless to stop it. Save the evidence you do have, and don’t worry about the evidence you don’t have — holding employers accountable and collecting your due is an achievable result. Continue reading ›

A late June decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to take a case pursued by several trade association groups means that a revised regulation expanding minimum wage and overtime protections to almost two million additional home care workers will stand. The high court’s refusal to hear the case leaves intact a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from last year that determined that the U.S. Department of Labor validly exercised its authority to create wage-and-hour regulations when it decided to redefine who is, and who is not, an exempt “companion services” worker.

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The Department of Labor is considering raising the minimum wage an employee must earn to be considered an overtime exempt employee. If the proposed rules raise the wage threshold as expected, millions of workers who thus far have been exempt from overtime pay could be eligible.

The federal law that controls overtime rules in Georgia and the rest of the United States is called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA requires employers to pay employees an overtime wage of 1.5 times the employee’s normal salary for each hour in excess of 40 the employee works in a seven-day workweek.

However, the FLSA exempts many types of employees from the overtime mandate. This means that employers are not legally required to pay these overtime-exempt employees the time-and-a-half overtime wage. Whether an employee is exempt or nonexempt is determined by the primary duties of her job. The employer does not determine whether the employee is exempt or nonexempt.

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The Georgia legislature began its 2015-2016 regular session on January 12, and a controversial minimum wage bill could be up for debate in the house. House Bill 8, sponsored by Reps. Tyrone Brooks and Dewey McClain, seeks to increase the Georgia minimum wage to $15 an hour for most nonexempt employees.

The current Georgia minimum wage is $5.15 an hour, which is lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a federal law, must pay the $7.25 wage. Most employers not subject to the FLSA — usually smaller entities with fewer employees — must pay the $5.15 Georgia wage. The smallest of employers may be exempt from all minimum wage laws.

The proposed legislation, if it is passed into law, also would broaden the number of employees exempted from Georgia’s minimum wage. Currently, domestic workers, farm workers, and employees who depend on tips are exempt from the law, meaning that they do not have to be paid the minimum wage. The proposed legislation would change that: Employers of domestic and farm workers would be obligated to pay the new minimum wage. For waiters and other employees who are paid gratuities the new legislation would allow tips to constitute up to 50 percent of their new $15 minimum wage.

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