Costly Employment Law Issues During the Holidays to Avoid
The holidays often mean time off, extra pay, or overtime for most employees in America. However, the shifting employment expectations at the end of the year often bring up disputes over pay, employment status, or time off. Some employees might want additional time off to spend time with loved ones while other employees might want extra pay to afford gifts or necessities for their families. A skilled employment lawyer can help navigate each of these issues to help you reach the best outcome for you, regardless of whether you are an employer or employee:
One of the biggest disagreements during the holidays between employers and employees is with regard to expectations regarding time off. An hour dispute occurs when an employer is accused of improperly calculating the hours an employee works, typically by underreporting hours such that an employee is paid less than what he or she works. An employer is not permitted to refuse to pay for work done overtime if it falls under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Employees who fall under the FLSA must receive overtime pay for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours. The FLSA does not require overtime pay for hours that are worked on weekends or holidays. Overtime pay is calculated based on the average hourly rate from the earnings worked during the workweek.
Wage theft refers to the unlawful practice of employers not paying their employees the full amount of money for the work they have performed. It can be committed in a number of different ways, both by breaking the law and by not adhering to a contractual relationship. Wage theft is especially burdensome during the holiday season as many employees want to be paid sooner and/or more in order to enjoy holiday dinners and gifts with their friends and families. Federal laws like FLSA and the Wage Theft Prevention Act prohibit employers from stealing from their employees and serve as grounds for legal action against an employer who commits wage theft.
The worst feeling for many employees is losing your job involuntarily right in the middle of the holidays. Although the majority of employees are at-will, many employees will contest their termination if they feel they have been unjustly terminated during the holidays.
Wrongful termination occurs when an employer illegally fires an employee from their job. There are laws in place which protect employees against certain terminations. A termination is illegal if the employer discriminated against a protected class (such as religion, race, or gender), retaliates against an employee for reporting a violation to law enforcement, breaches an employment contract, terminates an employee who is on medical or family leave, or violates any other public policies. Be sure to contact an employment lawyer if you are the victim of a wrongful termination or if you are an employer who has been falsely accused of illegally firing an employee.
Do I Need an Employment Lawyer?
If your employer has violated your legal rights as a worker, then you should consider speaking with a skilled employment lawyer for further assistance. An employment law attorney can help protect your interests and defend your rights under the law. Your attorney can also assist you in filing a lawsuit against an employer and/or colleague and in recovering damages for any losses that you suffered.
If you are an employer who is being used by a worker, then you should hire an employment law attorney immediately to represent you. Your attorney will be able to determine whether there are any defenses you can raise and can discuss the potential outcomes of your case.