Employees’ Right to Inquire About or Claim Overtime Pay Without Retaliation

Shavitz Law Group

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a vital piece of legislation that safeguards the rights of workers in the United States. One crucial protection offered by the FLSA is the prohibition of retaliation against employees who assert their rights to seek unpaid overtime.

Under the FLSA, employers are required to compensate eligible employees for any overtime hours worked. However, workers may have questions about how they are being paid and disputes regarding unpaid overtime can sometimes arise between employers and employees. To address this issue, the FLSA guarantees the right to seek unpaid overtime and protects employees from retaliation for asserting this right.

Retaliation can take various forms, such as termination, demotion, reduction in hours, pay cuts, or any adverse action that negatively impacts the employee’s employment status or working conditions. The FLSA’s retaliation protection covers a wide range of activities, including but not limited to filing a complaint with the Department of Labor, cooperating with an investigation, or simply requesting information about their rights from their employer. It is important to note that retaliation is illegal regardless of whether the employee’s claim for unpaid overtime is ultimately successful or not.

Employees who have faced retaliation must understand the significance of the FLSA’s protection against such actions. It empowers workers to assert their rights without fear of adverse consequences. By familiarizing themselves with the specific actions covered under anti-retaliation provision of the FLSA—such as filing a complaint, cooperating with an investigation, or seeking information, or claiming backpay for unpaid overtime within the past 3 years —employees can better protect themselves. Employees should also seek legal counsel if they believe they have experienced retaliation, as they have rights and recourse under the FLSA to ensure fair and legal treatment in the workplace.

Were you Misclassified by Nike as a Temporary Office Workers?

Shavitz Law Group

As recently reported by The Guardian, the iconic sneaker brand Nike may be liable for over $530 million dollars in taxes and fines for misclassifying its temporary office workers as independent contractors. Nike’s purported misclassification of temporary office workers includes – but is not limited to — people hired by Nike to do business consulting, T-shirt graphics, photography and event planning.

In addition to avoiding taxes, companies like Nike may classify workers as independent contractors to evade billions in overtime, paid time off, restricted stock options, retirement plan contributions and healthcare. Thus, a finding that temporary office workers are actually employees and not independent contractors raises a separate and equally important issue: did Nike pay these temporary office workers overtime wages for the hours they worked over 40 in a work week? The answer to the question undoubtedly is “no.” Because it classified these temporary office workers as independent contractors, then Nike could use that independent contractor classification to wrongfully withhold overtime wages and benefits.

According to The Guardian, a report on Nike’s classification of temporary office workers warns “Employers who are found to have misclassified workers as freelancers are also potentially liable for other potential costs,” including unpaid overtime, among other things. In addition, the report also notes that Nike could be subject to class-action lawsuits for unpaid overtime and other benefits.

Shavitz Law Group handles lawsuits where companies misclassify workers as independent contractors. If Nike – or another company – misclassified you or someone you know as an independent contractor contact Shavitz Law Group to learn more about your legal rights.

How the Fair Labor Standards Act Can Help if You Are Working Off the Clock

Have you ever found yourself working off the clock? Maybe you have been asked to work through lunch or asked to stay late without getting paid for those extra hours. If this has happened to you, you are not alone. Unfortunately, many employers take advantage of their employees and ask them to work off the clock in order to save money. But there are laws in place to protect you, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In this article, we will discuss how the FLSA can help you if you are working off the clock and how experienced employment attorneys at Shavitz Law Group can help you fight for your rights.

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor standards for employees in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. Under the FLSA, most employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

How Does the FLSA Protect You if You Are Working Off the Clock?

If you are a non-exempt employee, your employer is required to pay you for all hours worked, including any time you work off the clock. This includes time spent working before or after your shift, working through lunch, or having to participate in after hours communications or team chats outside of regular working hoursl. If your employer fails to pay you for these hours, they are violating the FLSA.

How Experienced Employment Attorneys Can Help

If you believe that your employer is violating the FLSA by failing to pay you for all hours worked, the experienced employment attorneys at Shavitz Law Group can help. Our attorneys have years of experience fighting for the rights of employees and will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

Our team will first assess your situation to determine if you have a case. If we believe that your employer is violating the FLSA, we will work with you to gather evidence and build a strong case. We will then file a complaint with the appropriate government agency and negotiate with your employer on your behalf.

Get the Compensation You Deserve 

If you are working off the clock, it is important to know your rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act. If your employer is violating the FLSA by failing to pay you for all hours worked, the experienced employment attorneys at Shavitz Law Group can help. We have the knowledge, experience, and dedication to fight for your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today at (800) 616-4000 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

Equal Pay for Equal Work? Know Your Rights.

It may be hard to believe, but in 2022, women in the United States made only 78 cents, on average, for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. That actually is a drop from 80 cents, which was the average for a number of preceding years. This gender pay gap is even worse when comparing Black and Hispanic female workers to their white male colleagues (69.5 cents and 64.1 cents, respectively).

These stark discrepancies produce staggering financial inequalities over time. Moreover, these differences in pay persist at all levels of education and economic background. That is, women are earning less than men in every sector of the job market, from hourly fast-food workers to high-powered financial analysts.

Female employees have the law on their side. The Equal Pay Act (EPA) is designed to address pay disparities between men and women who performed similar work. The EPA requires “equal pay for equal work.” The EPA covers all elements of an employee’s compensation, including base salary, overtime, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing, and benefits.

The first step to bringing EPA claims is demonstrating the discrepancy between the pay for women and men performing the same work. Fortunately, many state laws and local ordinances require pay transparency. As of early 2023, these states have enacted legislation addressing salary range disclosures: California, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington. In addition, some Ohio, New York, and New Jersey localities have also enacted similar legislation. While these laws may vary in their details, they generally all require employers to disclose wage rates and salary ranges upon request by a job candidate or employee. If you are not in an area that requires pay transparency and believe that you are earning less than your male co-workers performing the same work, then you might simply ask the male colleagues who you trust to share this information with you. And, if you cannot confirm but have a well-founded belief that your pay is unequal, an attorney can help investigate potential EPA claims.

Once the discrepancy in pay can be established, much of EPA litigation focuses on the equal work element: how does an employee establish that she performed the same job as a man? Under the EPA, “equal work” means jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility and that are performed under similar working conditions (and in the same type of work location). The jobs do not have to be identical, but they must be substantially equal. It is the content and duties of the job, not the job title or the employer’s job description, that controls.

An employee who succeeds on an EPA claim is entitled to her lost wages (meaning the difference between her pay and that of her male co-workers) for the two- or three-year statute of limitations period. If her employer cannot establish that it acted in good faith (meaning that it had reasonable grounds for believing that it was not violating the law), she will receive liquidated (i.e., double) damages in an amount equal to the lost wages. The EPA also requires the employer to pay the successful employee’s attorney’s fees, which drives many of these cases. Importantly, the EPA allows female workers to bring a suit collectively in a class action.

At Shavitz Law Group, we stand up for the rights of our clients by ensuring that their voices are heard. If you believe you may be a victim of pay discrimination, call us today at (800) 616-4000.

What Are Some Examples of Unlawful Employment Practices?

Have you ever experienced discrimination or mistreatment at your workplace? Unfortunately, there are several examples of unlawful employment practices that can impact workers’ lives. It is important to be aware of these practices and know that there are legal avenues to fight against them.

Discrimination in Hiring Practices

One example of an unlawful employment practice is discrimination in hiring. This can take various forms, such as rejecting a qualified candidate due to their race, gender, religion, age, or disability. Discrimination can also occur during the job interview process, such as asking inappropriate or discriminatory questions. If you have ever been turned down for a job despite meeting the qualifications, it is important to evaluate if discrimination played a role in the decision-making process.

Harassment and Hostile Work Environment

Another example of an unlawful employment practice is harassment or creating a hostile work environment. This can happen when an employee is subjected to offensive, unwelcome, or intimidating behavior based on their race, gender, religion, or other protected characteristic. Such behavior can include verbal abuse, physical assault, and unwanted touching. If you have ever experienced harassment or a hostile work environment, it is important to report it to your employer and seek legal advice.

Retaliation for Protected Activity

Retaliation for engaging in protected activity is another unlawful employment practice. Protected activity can include filing a complaint with a government agency, reporting illegal conduct or safety violations, or participating in a union. Employers are not allowed to take adverse actions against employees who engage in such activities. If you have ever been fired, demoted, or otherwise punished for engaging in protected activity, you may have legal options.

Unpaid Wages and Overtime

Employers are required to pay their employees the minimum wage and provide overtime pay when applicable. Failure to do so can result in wage theft and other unlawful employment practices. If you have ever worked overtime but not received the proper compensation, or if you have not been paid the minimum wage, you may be entitled to back pay.

Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee for illegal reasons, such as discrimination, retaliation, or in violation of an employment contract. If you have ever been fired without just cause, it is important to evaluate if your employer violated any laws or breached any contracts.

How Shavitz Law Group Can Help

If you have experienced any of the above unlawful employment practices, or if you have other workplace concerns, it is important to seek legal advice from experienced employment attorneys. Shavitz Law Group is dedicated to protecting workers’ rights and fighting against unlawful employment practices. We have years of experience representing clients in various employment law matters, and we are committed to obtaining the best possible results for our clients.

Shavitz Law Group can help you navigate the complex legal process and protect your rights. We can provide legal advice, represent you in negotiations and settlements, and litigate your case if necessary. We understand the emotional toll of facing workplace discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other unlawful practices, and we will work with you every step of the way to achieve justice. Call today at (800) 616-4000.

Am I Entitled to Compensation for Off the Clock Work?

As an employment lawyer, one of the most common questions I receive from clients is whether employees must be compensated for off the clock work required by their employer. Employees are entitled to be paid for all work performed at the direction of and for the benefit of their employer, whether on or off the clock. In this article, we will explore the issue of off the clock work in more detail and discuss how Shavitz Law Group can assist you if you are being asked to work off the clock.

The Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that governs minimum wage and overtime pay. Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime for every hour worked over 40 hours in a work week. If an employee is performing work-related tasks while off the clock, they are entitled to compensation for their time.

Understanding Off the Clock Work

Off the clock work refers to any work done by an employee for their employer outside of their regular working hours, for which they are not compensated. This includes responding to emails, texts, or phone calls while not at the workplace or off-shift, attending work-related meetings (virtually or in person) while you are off the clock, or performing any other work-related task.

Meal and Rest Times

A common type of off the clock work is interrupted meals or rest breaks. While employers may interrupt unpaid breaks for any reason, they must pay for the break when they do so. Thus, if an employee is taking lunch in the break room and a supervisor comes in to discuss a work-related issue, then the employer must compensate the employee for that break. If an employer automatically deducts time for meal breaks (usually 30 minutes) and interrupts an employee’s meal break, then the deduction must be adjusted so that the employee is paid for the interrupted break. Similarly, working while eating does not constitute a meal break, and if an employer requires this, then it must pay for the meal break.  

Boot-Up Time and Study Time

Boot-up time refers to the amount of time it takes for an employee to start up their work computer or equipment, load the required applications, and review any necessary materials before commencing their tasks. This time is compensable. If an employer does not start tracking an employee’s time until after they perform preliminary tasks which are indispensable to the employee’s job, then the employee is owed wages for this off the clock work.,

Study time reflects the amount of time employers require employees to spend studying materials when they are off the clock. Study time most frequently occurs when an employer requires employees to undergo training and/or to matriculate through certain modules and pass certain tests.

Wage and Hour Lawsuits

If an employee believes they are entitled to compensation for off the clock work they may file suit against their employer within two or three years of the most recent violation. An employee may proceed individually to obtain the wages owed. In addition, employees may proceed collectively. This is where a group of similarly situated employees who have been denied overtime for the same off the clock violations band together to sue as a group. Either way, the employees are not responsible for attorney’s fees and costs; rather, if the employee prevails, then the employer must pay the employee’s attorney’s fees and costs.

An Experienced Employment Attorney Can Help

If you or someone you know has worked off the clock without receiving compensation, it’s essential to take action. At Shavitz Law Group, our experienced attorneys have a deep understanding of employment law and can help you navigate the legal system. We can evaluate your case and determine if you have a valid claim, and if so, we will fight tirelessly for your right to compensation. By seeking assistance from Shavitz Law Group, you can ensure that your rights as an employee are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve for your work. Call today at (800) 616-4000. 

Undocumented Workers Are Eligible for Overtime Pay

Some employers hire illegal immigrants, believing that these individuals are either not subject to wage and hour laws or will not complain of wage and hour violations due to fear of deportation. The law is clear: undocumented immigrants working in the United States have the same rights to minimum wages and overtime as U.S. citizens, and that they may pursue lawsuits to collect unpaid wages and overtime. The FLSA protects all individuals, without regard to their immigration status.

The FLSA’s protection for illegal immigrants also protects U.S. citizens. If minimum wage and overtime laws did not apply to illegal immigrants, employers would be incentivized to hire them and pay them subminimum wages, rather than hire U.S. citizens for full wages. By recognizing that the FLSA applies to illegal immigrants, the law disincentivizes employers from hiring illegal immigrants to the disadvantage of U.S. citizens competing in the labor market and employers who do not engage in these illegal practices.

Understandably, many illegal immigrants are hesitant to bring FLSA claims against their employers due to their immigration status. However, an employee’s immigration status cannot be used as a defense to an FLSA claim, and it is illegal for an employer who is claimed to have violated the FLSA to threaten the employee with deportation. Many cases have been successfully resolved for illegal immigrants who were improperly denied minimum wages or overtime.

If you are an undocumented worker who is being taken advantage of by an employer paying subminimum wages or failing to pay overtime, we can help. Call Shavitz Law Group at (561) 447-8888 or email us at [email protected] to learn about 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.
Attorney Advertising

Gig Economy – When “Independent Contractors” Are Eligible for Employee Benefits

Many people work in the “gig economy.”  They drive for Uber or Lyft; they provide food delivery services for Postmates or Grubhub; they also deliver groceries through Amazon.  Many gig workers have “independent contractor” agreements with these companies which provide them with terms of compensation.  Oftentimes, these agreements do not include overtime pay or benefits.  In fact, not paying overtime and providing benefits is one of the reasons companies have these agreements — they save big bucks by not paying workers what they’re rightfully owed.

Recently, employees have challenged their “independent contractor” status, arguing that
the agreements closely control the employees’ work.  For example, these companies
often dictate to which customers they deliver and when they must work.  Depending on
the level of control, courts have found that many “independent contractors” are really not
independent contractors, but rather that they are employees and must be compensated
accordingly with overtime pay, unemployment benefits, and appropriate breaks.

Shavitz Law Group, P.A. has successfully helped many employees who have challenged
their classification as independent contractors. If you work as a driver, courier, or other
type of independent contractor and you’re curious whether you should be paid overtime
wages and other benefits, please contact us at [email protected] or 800-616-4000. 
We have will provide a free consultation and assess whether you are properly classified.

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.
Attorney Advertising

What is the Difference Between a Class and Collective Action?

When a plaintiff brings a representative action on behalf of a potential group of similarly situated individuals they most frequently do so as part of a class action lawsuit.  In a class action, such as for unpaid overtime wages, the plaintiff makes allegations that the harm he or she experienced is not unique and that there are many others who also suffered that same harm.  If the court agrees, notice of the class action will then go out to those similarly situated class members (also known as “putative” class members) advising them of the fact that they are in the purported class.  These members are by default included in the class, unless they take an affirmative step to opt out of the class.  

In the employment context, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) has provided employees with another mechanism to bring a representative action: a collective action. Similar to a class action, a collective action begins with a representative plaintiff (or plaintiffs) who seek bringing claims on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated employees.   Just like a class action, notice of the collective action will go out if the court agrees, making the similarly situated putative collective members advising them of that they’re in the purported collective.  The difference between putative class members and putative collective members is that putative collective members are not by default included in the collective.  Instead, they must make the affirmative step of submitting a consent form to join the collective action in order to be included.  Without doing so, putative collective members are not bound by any judgment, but also cannot collect any proceeds from a settlement or judgment.  

Class and collective actions have very different due process concerns and therefore have varying levels of judicial scrutiny.  When a settlement is reached in a class action, all class members who do not affirmatively opt out of the class are bound by the settlement – meaning they waive their right to bring an individual claim for the claims covered by the settlement unless they opt out.  Thus, there is usually a two-step approval process (preliminary approval and final approval) courts require to ensure the settlement is fair and reasonable to class members. 

By contrast, courts typically only require a one-step approval process to ensure that the settlement is fair and reasonable to class members when a collective action is settlement is reached.  This is because those who do not submit opt-in forms to participate in the settlement do not waive their individual rights to bring claims covered by the settlement.  As such, collective action settlements are typically approved much faster than class action settlements.  

SLG is experienced in bringing both class and collective actions on behalf of workers.  If you have any questions about the differences between class and collective actions, believe you are owed unpaid overtime wages or have any other employment-related concerns, please do not hesitate to call us 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.

 Attorney Advertising

 

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 [email protected] 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.

 Attorney Advertising