The Patton Firm - Alabama Plaintiff's Law Firm | Wage and Hour Claims (FLSA)
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Wage and Hour Claims (FLSA)

Wage and Hour Claims (FLSA)

Birmingham FSLA Attorneys

The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes a minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards for employees. We will secure what is rightfully yours. If you believe your employer is underpaying or not paying proper overtime, please contact The Patton Firm right away.

 

What constitutes a work week?
Generally, a work week is a period of seven consecutive days set by an employer, either formally or informally. An employer may formally adopt a policy that sets the work week as “Monday through Sunday” or “Thursday through Wednesday.” Alternatively, an employer’s work week may be informally adopted by its use of time sheets or its payroll practices. For example, an employer may require employees to clock in and out on timecards that have weeks that start with a Monday and end on a Sunday.

 

When does overtime begin accruing?
The FLSA requires employers to compensate non-exempt employees with overtime premiums once the employee’s work hours exceed the 40-hour threshold in a single work week. The FLSA generally does not afford overtime protections for work performed in consecutive work weeks. For example, in a Monday-Sunday work week, an employer must pay over time for all work that exceeds 40 hours during that calendar period. However, even if they employee worked every day in that particular work week, overtime premiums stop on the Monday that follows the work week. This concept is sometimes confusing when employers adopt pay periods longer than one week in duration and is especially confusing to employees when pay days occur on the 15th and last day of the month.

 

What is the overtime premium?
The overtime premium is one and one-half (1.5) times the employee’s regular rate of pay. An employee earning $10 per hour is entitled to an overtime premium of $15 per hour.

 

What is the difference between exempt and non-exempt employees?
Certain employment categories are exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA and are therefore not afforded overtime protections. Two of the most common exemptions are the executive and managerial exemptions. Employees that fall within these exemptions may be paid on a salary basis and are permitted to work in excess of 40 hours in a work week without the benefit of receiving an overtime premium. Other exemptions include outside sales employees and professionals. An employer cannot simply give an employee a job title and treat the employee as exempt. Many employees prevail in their FLSA claims by asserting that their employer misclassified them as exempt.

 

Is pre-shift and post-shift work compensable?
Work done in preparation for the workday or winding down from the workday is compensable if it is integral and indispensable to the employee’s job duties. Work that happens on an infrequent basis and takes only a very small amount of time may be considered de minimis and not compensable. Donning and doffing (putting on and taking off) protective clothing may be compensable depending upon the specialized nature of the items and the amount of time/effort required.

 

When is an employee entitled to compensation for time spent travelling?
Employees are generally entitled to compensation for all hours worked; however, the Portal-to-Portal Act specifically excludes regular commuting time. Employees are not entitled to compensation for the time they would normally spend driving to and from work. Employees are entitled to compensation for time spent traveling after the start of the work day. An employee who begins work at one location and then has to travel to another location to continue working is entitled to travel time compensation. Additionally, employees who are sent on special assignments may be entitled to travel time compensation.

 

What are common claims asserted by employees against their employers?
• Failure to pay the applicable minimum wage
• Failure to pay overtime premium (i.e. employer pays “straight time”)
• Failure to pay employees for pre-shift and/or post-shift work
• Failure to pay employees for travel time
• Misclassification as an exempt employee
• Private sector use of compensatory time off (CTO) instead of paying overtime

 

What is an employee entitled to recover in an FLSA action?
The FLSA allows employees to recover the wages that should have been paid for a period of time going back two years from the date the FLSA lawsuit is filed. Recovery of these “compensatory damages” can be extended to the period of time going back three years from the lawsuit filing date if the employee can prove that the employer willfully violated the FLSA. A willful violation of the FLSA may also entitle the employee to liquidated damages.

 

Can an employer fire or terminate an employee for filing an FLSA claim?
The FLSA contains very serious penalties for employers who terminate or otherwise retaliate against an employee for participation in a wage/overtime claim, lawsuit or investigation.

 

Are there any other laws that allow employees to recover wrongfully withheld wages?
Some states have employment laws that are more protective than the FLSA and may include penalties related to employee meal breaks, rest breaks and/or inaccurate wage statements. A qualified and knowledgeable wage attorney can help employees navigate these complicated employment laws and ensure employees get the maximum recovery for the hard work they have performed.

 

Should an employee consult with a lawyer before asserting claims for unpaid wages?
The FLSA is a very complex law and employees will benefit greatly from the advice of a qualified and knowledgeable wage attorney. Additionally, the FLSA requires the courts to award employees’ attorneys reasonable fees and costs if the employee prevails in his or her wage claims. The court will direct the employer to pay these fees and costs so that employees can fully enjoy the wages they are rightfully owed.

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