Has your employer paid you everything you are entitled under the law? Are you owed overtime pay or asked to perform work “off-the-clock?” At Moffitt & Phillips, PLLC, we represent employees in employment law claims against their employer for unpaid compensation. An example of the cases we cover include:
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Minimum Wage Act of Arkansas, Employers are required to pay their “non-exempt” employees overtime at a rate of 1 ½ times for all hours worked over forty hours in a workweek. Often employers ignore their legal obligations and pay their employees at their regular rate of pay for hours worked over forty (40) in a week. Employers will also classify their employees as an “exempt” employee in order to avoid paying overtime. Other times, an employer will average hours worked in different weeks to avoid paying overtime. For example, if an employee works 30 hours in one week and 50 hours in another week, often an employer will average the weeks together to avoid paying the overtime rate.
Unpaid Minimum Wage
The Fair Labor Standards Act is the federal law that sets the minimum wage for a vast amount of employers. This Act is expansive and covers practically any company that does over $500,000 in gross revenue or “engages in interstate commerce.” Courts have interpreted the “interstate commerce” language broadly so that a vast majority of employers are covered by the Act. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must pay their employees at least $ 7.25 per hour. Additionally, the Minimum Wage Act of Arkansas covers most employers that are not covered by its federal counterpart. Under the Minimum Wage Act of Arkansas, employers must pay their employees at least $7.50 per hour. This minimum will increase to $ 8.00 per hour by January 2016 and then $8.50 per hour in January 2017. Many claims arise here when an employer pays employees on commission and requires a set number of hours, but does not pay the employee at least minimum wage.
Employers are only required to pay overtime to employees who are “non-exempt” under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In order to avoid paying minimum wage and overtime, employers often “misclassify” their employees as “exempt” employees by classifying them as independent contractors or salaried employees. But often times these classifications do not meet the law’s standards. For example, if you are classified as an independent contractor but a substantial amount of your work is derived from one company, then you may be an employee of that company. Additionally, just because you are paid a salary does not mean you are not entitled to overtime. Salaried employees’ job duties must require the employee to exercise a good deal of judgment and discretion. If an employee does not meet the standards set by the law to be classified as a “salaried employee,” then they may be entitled to unpaid overtime.
“Off the Clock” Work
Employers often require their employees to work off the clock. These practices may include requiring their employees to do clean up or other job duties before their shift begins or after their shift is finished. These types of practices are often illegal and employees are entitled to be paid for most work performed for the benefit of their employer. In addition, often employers require their employees to work during their unpaid lunch or meal breaks. The law requires that these breaks are compensable if they are “predominantly for the benefit” of the employer. Thus, if you are frequently interrupted or are required to perform work for your employer during your lunch break, you may be entitled to additional compensation.
Donning and Doffing
Donning and doffing cases arise when employers fail to pay their employees for time spent putting on and taking off protective gear or other types of clothing required in order to perform the job duties. Employers often claim this type of work is not compensable. However, the courts regularly find that where the donning and doffing are “integral and indispensable to the employer’s activity,” it is compensable work time.
The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers from retaliating against their employees when those employees have asserted their rights under the FLSA. This means that an employer cannot fire, demote, suspend or take any adverse action because an employee has filed a complaint, orally or written, with the Department of Labor or instituted legal action in court. Most courts also prohibit retaliation when the employee files an internal complaint with his or her employer. When an employee suffers retaliation from his employer, that employee can usually bring a lawsuit against his employer to recover any resulting damages.
Our employment law attorneys will fight to ensure that you are paid for every minute of time spent working for your employer and will assist you in recovering ALL unpaid compensation. If you have an employment law claim against your employer for unpaid compensation, call Moffitt & Phillips at (501) 255-7406 TODAY. Contact an Arkansas employment law attorney