Wage & Hour
Moeller Barbaree’s attorneys have litigated numerous wage and hour cases under federal and state wage and hour laws, including individual, class and collective actions in Atlanta, and in courts across the country. Wage and hour disputes are governed by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as state and local laws. Moeller Barbaree’s lawyers have litigated and favorably resolved wage and hour pay claims, including overtime pay, minimum wage, unpaid commissions, misclassification, vacation pay, unauthorized deduction of wages, bonus issues, tip credit issues, and off-the-clock violations. Both Tracey Barbaree and Beth Moeller have vast experience in handling class and collective actions brought on behalf of employees alleging wage violations by an employer.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal law governing the manner in which employers must pay employees. The FLSA provides that employers must pay overtime pay, at a rate of one-and-a-half times an employee’s regular hourly rate, for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. The FLSA exempts certain types of jobs from this overtime requirement. If an employer violates the FLSA by failing to pay appropriate wages, the employee may recover the unpaid wages, plus liquidated damages, as a penalty for the employer’s violation. State laws may provide different wage and hour claims and additional damages.
Moeller Barbaree’s Atlanta attorneys have extensive experience handling cases involving:
- Unpaid overtime
- Off-the-clock violations
- Failure to pay Minimum wage
- Misclassification of employees
- Tip credit issues
- Regular rate issues
- Independent contractors
Unless a covered employee is exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements, employees must receive overtime pay at a rate of at least time and a half the employee’s regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Private employers cannot provide employees with time off (sometimes referred to as “comp time”) instead of paying overtime for hours worked over 40 in a week, even if the employee agrees. Normally, overtime pay earned in a particular workweek has to be paid on the employee’s regular pay day for the pay period in which the overtime pay was earned. Usually, bonuses and other types of payments to an employee should be included as part of an employee’s regular rate of pay for purposes of computing overtime.
Federal and state wage and hour laws prohibit employers from allowing employees to work “off the clock” without pay. Under the FLSA employees are to be paid for all “hours worked,” which includes the time that an employee must be on duty, on the employer’s premises, or at any other place of work and/or any time in which the employee is performing work. The amount of compensation employees are to receive cannot be determined without properly recording the number of hours worked. Hours worked can include work performed “off the clock,” at an employee’s job site or elsewhere, whether voluntary or not. For example, work performed “off the clock” such as maintaining equipment, completing assigned tasks, staying after a normal shift, doing job-related paperwork at home, working through meal breaks, and returning phone calls or reviewing and responding to email messages after hours can all be considered work time for which an employee should be paid. Employers who do not require their employees to record all time worked and pay employees appropriately may run afoul of the FLSA.
The classification of employees as exempt or non-exempt affects the manner that employers must pay employees under state and federal law. Many employers mistakenly treat employees as exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements.
The FLSA exempts certain types of jobs from its overtime and minimum wage requirements. These exemptions include the following types of positions:
- Outside sales employees
- Commissioned sales employees
- Computer professionals
- Drivers, driver’s helpers, loaders and mechanics
An employer’s actual job duties, as opposed to his/her job title, determine whether an exemption applies to a particular job. An employer relying on any of these exemptions must ensure that the FLSA’s specific requirements for each is satisfied. To the extent an employer pays exempt employees on a salary basis, the FLSA has strict limits on an employer’s ability to make deductions from the employees’ salary payments.
Employees can also be misclassified as independent contractors, but employers who rely on the work of independent contractors must ensure they can satisfy a number of factors under the guidelines of federal and state labor departments and the FLSA. The fact that an employee agrees to independent contractor status may not be determinative. Instead, the law focuses on the reality of the working relationship. Employees who are misclassified as independent contractors are often denied benefits that they would otherwise be entitled to by law, such as minimum wage, overtime, medical leave and unemployment benefits.
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If you have a question or need guidance about wage and hour issues, or believe that you have not been paid properly, please contact the Atlanta overtime and minimum wage lawyers at Moeller Barbaree at 404-748-9122, for a free, no obligation consultation or use our convenient email form.
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