FAQs

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Pay FAQs

Yes.  Employees who are seeking such wages must be aware that some employers will not want to admit that they have wrongfully paid their employees.  Thus, it is very important that the lawsuit process begin as quickly as possible once employees discover their employers have wrongfully paid them.  Most often, there is a timeframe to file a lawsuit against an employer.  Statutes of limitations vary from federal to state law, and impose a window of opportunity for employees to collect wages owed by employers.  This window of opportunity is typically two to four years backward from the date employees file a lawsuit for wage violations, and forward until the employees reach settlement or trial, or the employer changes how employees are paid.

No.  Any legal action is complicated, but wage recovery lawsuits can be especially complicated.  It is important for you to have an attorney who has extensive knowledge of wage and hour law.

Wage and hour violations have been found in factories, restaurants, call centers, factories, banks, financial institutions, and nursing homes among others.

No.  The law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who complain about or sue to recover wages due.  Employees should not feel threatened or intimidated by their employers if employees seek to recover wages due them.

Maybe.  Many employers try to save money by labeling workers as independent contractors, contract employees, contingent workers, and the like.  Only those workers who truly qualify as independent contractors are not eligible for overtime or benefits.  The test for whether or not workers qualify as independent contractors can be very complicated.  The key determination is the nature of the relationship between the employer and the worker, and how much the employer controls the worker.  Generally, workers who employers label as independent contractors, but control them the same as other employees, do not qualify as true independent contractors so they are entitled to overtime and benefits.

Likely not.  Most states have laws which require employers provide you with unpaid meal periods if employees work a specific number of hours per day, but employees cannot work during those periods without pay.

Probably not.  Most states have laws which require employers provide employees with rest breaks and meal periods if employees work a specific number of hours per day.

Most likely not.  Again, employers must generally pay employees for these hours.  Some examples of this is time necessary to change into your work uniform at you work site, preparing your computer for work, and cleaning up after your shift.

Most likely not.  Employers must generally pay employees for all hours worked whether or not they are formally clocked in.  An example of this is writing work emails or answering work phone calls when employees are not clocked in.

Off the clock refers to work hours that employees work when they are not clocked in (and thus not paid for).  This is another employer cost savings strategy in that it limits the hourly wages and overtime employers pay employees.

Your job title has nothing to do with whether or not you are entitled to overtime.  Your job duties provide the key to your eligibility for overtime.  Many employers try to save overtime money by giving employees a manager or officer title, and only paying them a salary.

Employees who are truly exempt from overtime laws are not entitled to receive overtime pay from their employers.  These exemptions are very narrow, complicated, and can be difficult to administer.  Some exemptions you may have heard of are the “white collar” exemptions of professional (doctors, lawyers), executive (high-level managers such as CEOs), and administrative (product managers).  You should talk to an attorney to determine if you are legally exempt from overtime.

Probably.  You are likely wrongly classified as exempt from overtime and thus entitled to it if you are performing the same job duties as those employees you manage.    You should consult an attorney if this is happening to you.

Maybe.  The mere fact that your employer pays you a salary does not mean that you are not entitled to overtime.  Many employers wrongfully pay their employees a salary when they should be paid overtime.  Employers sometimes pay employees salaries to avoid paying overtime.  You should email or call us at 816-531-2277 if you believe your employer wrongfully paid you a salary.

A salary is a set amount of wages that does not change based upon the quality of work or the number of hours worked.  An employer may pay the salary weekly or on a less frequent basis.

These laws are so important because they restrict the power of employers to exploit their workers and their working conditions.  In the absences of these laws, employers could make employees work long hours with little regard for pay.

Wage and hour law refers the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state wage laws which require employers pay employees overtime for hours worked over 40 in any work week unless the employee is exempt.  The FLSA also establishes a federal minimum wage and recordkeeping standards.  Some states have wage laws which mandate different overtime requirements and a higher minimum wage.

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Employment FAQs

You may receive many different remedies if you win an employment case.  For example, you may recover back wages and benefits from the date of the illegal act (i.e., firing date) to the date trial is over and front pay which is lost wages for some time into the future as decided at trial.  You also may receive compensatory damages such as emotional distress.  In some cases, you may receive punitive damages if your employer’s conduct was especially bad.  Finally, the court may award you the attorney fees and costs that were incurred for you to win.

Probably.  You should consult an attorney if you have been labeled as an independent contractor, contingent work, or contract employee, and you believe you have been treated unfairly at work.

Yes.  What you write in and who you name in the charge are very important.

Yes.  There are very strict time limits for you to file a charge of discrimination which is likely your first step in pursuing a case.  The time limit in Missouri is 180 days from the discrimination, harassment, or retaliation you are complaining about.  In other states, you may have up to 300 days to file such charge.  You will then receive a “right to sue” letter after you file your charge.  You have only 90 days to file a lawsuit from the date of that letter.  You thus should contact an attorney if you believe you may file a case.

Absolutely.  Once say you will file a case, the employer will likely check your company email and internet surfing, and your personal Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, and any other online accounts you have.  The employer will try to use information learned from these accounts against you in your case.  In addition, you will want an attorney who is well-versed in technology to represent you because most cases involve employer email and other employer technology issues which your attorney must generally specifically request to receive.  This information is often vital to proving your case.

Illegal retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee who complains about discrimination or harassment.  The law provides that employees have the right to work free of illegal retaliation.

You need to act now.  First, you should find out if your employer has a process in place to complain about sexual harassment.  You may be able to find your employer’s process on its internet or intranet website, in the employee handbook, or posted in the breakroom. You need to carefully follow this process to complain if your employer has one.  You should also immediately contact an attorney to discuss what other steps you should take to stop the harassment.

Sexual harassment is a form of illegal employment discrimination where an employee is subject to unwelcome and offensive acts because the employee is a woman or man.  Sexual harassment generally occurs in one of two ways:  (1) “quid pro quo” where the conditions of your employment depend upon the employee agreeing to sexual advances or favor (i.e., a manager will promote an employee only if she has sex with him); and (2) “hostile environment” where the employees is subject to a lot of unwelcome, offensive sexual conduct such as touching, grabbing fondling, pornography, or sexually suggestive jokes or comments.

Illegal harassment occurs where the employee is repeatedly subject to unwelcome and offensive conduct in the workplace by managers, fellow employees, and/or customers.  For example, an employee who is constantly subjected to unwelcome racial comments, jokes, or other demeaning workplace behavior may have a case for racial harassment.

Maybe.  You are protected against age discrimination if you are age 40 or older.  This means that your employer’s decision to lay you off cannot be motivated by your age.  But, your employer could legally lay you off and keep the younger employee if she had better skills than you.  The key is what factors the employer used to make the layoff decision.

No.  Employment discrimination is unlawful only if the employer’s adverse employment decision was motivated by an employee’s protected characteristic such as race.  Employers may legally discriminate on any other basis such as only hiring tall employees.

Employers must not be motivated in making employment decisions by an employee’s protected characteristics which are race, gender, age, disability, and national origin.  However, unlawful employment discrimination does not occur merely because an employee has a protected characteristic and suffers an adverse employment decision such as firing or demotion.  Employers have the right to make employment decisions for valid business reasons such as poor work performance or absence from work.

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