Are You Being Paid for Mandatory Temperature Screening?

In the age of COVID, many employers require employees to undergo a mandatory temperature check each day. These temperature checks typically occur either just inside – or even outside – the business premises to protect the health of everyone involved. Depending on the nature of the business, the time of day, and many other factors, these mandatory temperature checks can take upwards of 10 to 15 minutes. Because the temperature checks occur before employees clock in, they are unpaid for this time. This time adds up over the course of a week.

Where employers require temperature checks for their own benefit – that is, maintaining a healthy workforce and workplace – the time spent waiting for and having the temperature screening may be compensable for all employees, regardless of whether the employees’ health is directly related to their job (as in the case of a health care worker). These temperature checks are akin to time spent putting on special protective gear, which courts have found to be compensable, because temperature screenings help to protect the workplace from a highly contagious and dangerous disease. While no court has directly ruled on the compensability of temperature screenings yet, it is likely workers could be paid for the time spent waiting for and having daily temperature checks given the dangers of the pandemic and the necessity of keeping people and businesses virus-free.

If you have any questions regarding your pay and/or your unpaid time spent for screening, contact Shavitz Law Group at (561) 447- 8888 or visit us at www.shavitzlaw.com for a free, no obligation review of your circumstances and consultation regarding your rights.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY. Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.
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Floridians to Decide Amendment 2/Minimum Wage

A YES Vote on Amendment 2 Raises the Florida Minimum Wage to $15/Hour.

Currently, Florida’s minimum wage is $8.56 per hour. Amendment 2 on the November ballot would incrementally raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. Currently, the minimum wage amounts to $17,804 annually, which is far below the poverty level. This wage is not livable, nor does it align with the high cost of living in many parts of the state.

A national study by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 across the country would lift more than 17 million people out of poverty. Those concerned with the affect the raise would have on businesses should know that economists have found that employees reinvest the extra wages into the local economy, by spending more on food, gas, and entertainment – including eating out in restaurants.

One poll indicates that 60 percent of Floridians support Amendment 2. To pass, the law requires 60 percent of Floridians to approve Amendment 2, so your vote counts more than ever. Please voice your support in this election by voting “YES” on Amendment 2 this November.

Shavitz Law Group is here to help. If you have any employment questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us for a free consultation at (800) 616-4000.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY. Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Champion of American Workers has died at the age of 87

Equality For All

Equality For AllJustice Ruth Bader Ginsburg championed the rights of everyone who struggled for equality – women, yes, as well as minorities, the marginalized, and workers. As a young lawyer, Ginsburg herself was discriminated in the workplace. Although she graduated at the top of her law school class at Columbia, employers repeatedly rejected her. As Ginsburg later mused, “Not a law firm in the entire city of New York would employ me…. I struck out on three grounds: I was Jewish, a woman and a mother.”

This experience let to Ginsburg’s her early work with the ACLU. In a landmark case, Ginsburg successfully argued to the Supreme Court ruling that discrimination in the workplace on the basis of gender is unconstitutional — a revolutionary concept at the time. After assuming the bench, both her opinions and her dissents shaped the lives of American workers in fundamental ways. Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. led Congress to pass of one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in the past twenty years. As she read her dissent in Ledbetter from the bench, Justice Ginsburg called on Congress to act. Her passionate call for justice resulted in the passage of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to allow more time for workers who have faced pay discrimination to file complaints. The Ledbetter case demonstrates that even Justice Ginsburg’s dissents had profound implications for American workers.

Every American worker – indeed, every person in this country — has benefitted from Justice Ginsburg’s work to ensure equality for all.

If you want to learn about your equal rights, please contact The Shavitz Law Group at slg@shavitzlaw.com or at 800-616-4000. We would be happy to assist you in a free consultation to discuss your concerns.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY. Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.
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Is Your Employer Driving Your Hourly Rate Below Minimum Wage?

In the era of COVID-19, many employers have hired additional drivers to better meet their customers’ needs by offering delivery services.  Often, employers require these employees to drive their own vehicles.

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently issued an Opinion Letter addressing how employers may reimburse workers for their out-of-pocket expenses in a way that complies with the federal minimum wage law.  The DOL’s Opinion Letter directly impacts those who drive as part of their duties, whether for deliveries or some other purpose.

Employees’ “tools of the trade”, including their use of a personal vehicle, are materials that primarily benefit employers, because they are necessary for a worker to perform their duties.  Employers violate the federal minimum wage laws if employees’ wages, minus expenses, are less than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25.  Thus, employers must  reimburse workers for their “tools of the trade” expenses – including mileage – so that the employees’ effective hourly rate is not less than $7.25.  Employers can rely on approximations of employees’ expenses, but those estimates must be reasonable.  The DOL also indicated that an employer would be safe in using the IRS business standard mileage rate.

Ultimately, workers using their own vehicles for the benefit of their employers (like delivery drivers) are entitled to reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses, like mileage.  If your employer is not reimbursing you for your mileage, calculate whether those expenses bring your hourly rate under $7.25.  And if your employer is reimbursing your mileage using an alternative method to the IRS business standard mileage rate, you should double-check if your effective hourly rate falls below minimum wage.

Shavitz Law Group is here to help. If you have questions about whether your employer is violating federal requirements, or if you have any other employment concerns, please do not hesitate to call us for a free consultation at (800) 616-4000.

 

 YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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A Major Victory for California Uber and Lyft Drivers

A California state judge has ordered Uber and Lyft to reclassify their workers from independent contractors to employees.  This would require the companies to provide workers with benefits and better working conditions. Uber and Lyft would be responsible for paying drivers minimum wage, overtime compensation, paid rest periods, and reimbursements for the cost of driving for the companies, including personal vehicle mileage. Currently, drivers are classified as independent contractors and receive none of these benefits

Per the judge’s ruling, Uber and Lyft have refused to comply with a California law passed last year that was supposed to make it harder for companies in the state to hire workers as independent contractors. The purpose of the legislation was to give gig economy workers such as drivers the same benefits as employees.

While both Uber and Lyft have indicated they will appeal the decision, the ruling could have significant consequences for gig economy workers if it survives the appeals process. The order could have broad implications not only for ride-hailing but also the tech industry, which relies on gig workers to provide massive labor forces without providing them the traditional benefits of employment.  In addition, while the decision is based upon California law, other states may follow.  Given California’s market share, the ruling will undoubtedly have an impact on the industry nationwide, to ensure consistency in the treatment of ride-hailing drivers, as well as other gig workers. 

If you believe you have been misclassified as an independent contractor – whether you are a driver, gig worker, or perform other work – please contact the Shavitz Law Group, P.A. at slg@shavitzlaw.com or 800-616-4000.  to ensure your rights are being protected.

 

 YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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Is Your 401k Shrinking Based Upon the Stock Market or High Fees?

In these uncertain economic times, workers have witnessed wild gyrations in their 401k accounts. A downturn in your 401k may be the result of the overall stock market decline, but something else also may be at play.

Employers who offer 401k plans use plan fiduciaries – trusted financial experts – to invest employee funds. However, these experts sometimes fail in their fiduciary duty, in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

ERISA requires the 401k plan fiduciaries to objectively and adequately review the plan’s investment portfolio with due care to ensure that each investment option was prudent in terms of cost, among other factors. In other words: Your employer needs to pick financial experts to manage the 401k plan who are looking out for the investor-employees’ best interests. ERISA violations may include the failure of the plan manager to minimize costs to the employee-investors by investing in more expensive funds when less expensive, comparable plans offering similar returns are available.

In these difficult economic times, finding out that you are paying for a “Cadillac” plan when a “Toyota” will provide comparable risks and returns at significantly less cost, is another hit to your wallet. Take a moment to review those 401k statements, with particular attention to the fees and costs. If you have questions, contact The Shavitz Law Group. You can call us at 800-616-4800, and we would be happy to assist you in a free consultation to discuss your employment concerns

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY. Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.
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Law Firms Can Violate Wage and Hour Laws, Too.

Under-paid by lawyer employer

Under-Paid by Lawyer EmployerWhen you think about wage and hour compliance issues, you might overlook an entire group of employers that may be in violation: law firms.  While you might assume that attorneys would be in compliance with the law, remember they are businesses, too.  As with other businesses, it is not uncommon for law firms to cut corners when it comes to wage and hour compliance.

Law firms, which are understandably concerned with the rights of their clients, also need to look inward and make sure that they are protecting the rights of their own employees to the fullest extent of the law.

Law firms have the same potential pitfalls of any other business.  Shavitz Law Group has helped recover damages for law firm employees who have been under-compensated.  Areas of concern where employers may fail to properly track the hours of and pay properly non-exempt employees include:

  • work performed remotely, usually at home, but can include work performed while traveling or commuting;
  • work performed while monitoring cell phones for calls, texts, and messages at the employer’s request;
  • improperly classifying employees as exempt when they perform non-exempt work — one common misconception in the legal industry is that paralegals are exempt professionals. Under the law, however, salaried paralegals are still entitled to overtime wages for hours worked in excess of forty per week;
  •  work performed during an unpaid meal break.

If you have any questions about your entitlement to recover unpaid overtime, please call us. Just like any employer, law firms are prohibited from retaliating against any employee who pursues backpay and overtime. Additionally, the law requires employers who violate federal wage law to pay the employees’ attorneys’ fees and costs, so we can represent you without any costs or fees paid by you. Call us today at (800) 616-4000 for a free consultation.

You Earned It, Now Let’s Go Get It.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 830 3rd Ave, Floor 5, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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Are You One of the Millions of Workers Now Entitled to Overtime?

New decade new overtime rules

Millions EntitledAs of January 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) new final rule becomes effective.  The new rule makes an additional 1.3 million American workers eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The rules allow workers to make more money in a salary and still be eligible for overtime.  Specifically, the new rule:

–   raises the “standard salary level” from the currently enforced level of $455 to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker). This means a salary of $35,568 or less per year will not be a bar to overtime.

–   raises the total annual compensation level for “highly compensated employees (HCE)” from $100,000 to $107,432 per year. This means a salary of $107,432 or less per year will not be a bar to overtime.

This is the first time in 15 years that the DOL has raised the thresholds.  Therefore, many workers who have been working during this period may assume that they still are not eligible for overtime because they make too much in their salary.

The DOL acknowledges that the changes will make millions more American workers eligible for overtime.  Are you one of them? If you are affected by this threshold change or if you feel that you are owed overtime, call the Shavitz Law Group.   We can seek back-pay for time worked within the past 3 years under federal law and longer under certain state laws. Contact Shavitz Law Group at (561) 447-8888 or visit us at www.shavitzlaw.com for a free, no-obligation review of your circumstances and consultation regarding your rights.

You Earned It, Now Let’s Go Get It.

 

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Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 830 3rd Ave, Floor 5, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

Do You Work for a Federal Contractor? You May Have Just Gotten a Minimum Wage Increase…

Federal contractor worker? Happy New Year

Do You Work for a Federal Contractor? You May Have Just Gotten a Minimum Wage Increase…Beginning on January 1, 2020, the applicable minimum wage rate for workers performing work on or in connection with some federal contracts increased to $10.80 for an hour. Additionally, the minimum cash wage which must be paid to tipped employees performing work on or in connection with covered contracts increased to $7.55 per hour.

This Executive Order, which was originally signed by President Obama in February 2014, applies to the following types of contracts:

  • Procurement contracts for construction covered by the Davis Bacon Act.
  • Service contracts covered by the Service Contract Act.
  • Concessions contracts, including any concessions contract excluded from the SCA by the Department’s regulations at 29 C.F.R. 4.133(b).
  • Contracts in connection with Federal property or lands and related to offering services for Federal employees, their dependents, or the general public.

In addition, the Executive Order allows the Department of Labor to make cost of living adjustments to the minimum wage applied to covered contracts each year.

Federal contractors are required by law to notify all workers performing work on or in connection with a covered contract of the applicable minimum wage rate under the Executive Order. Contractors may satisfy the Order’s notice requirement by displaying the DOL-issued poster reflecting the updated wage rates in a prominent or accessible place at the worksite.

If you were affected by this minimum wage increase and were not notified by your contractor, or if you feel that you are owed overtime, call the Shavitz Law Group. We can seek back-pay for time worked within the past 3 years under federal law and longer under certain state laws. Contact Shavitz Law Group at (561) 447-8888 or visit us at www.shavitzlaw.comfor a free, no-obligation review of your circumstances and consultation regarding your rights.

You Earned It, Now Let’s Go Get It.

 

 

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Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 830 3rd Ave, Floor 5, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.