Chattanooga Wage and Hour Lawyer

When people talk about wage and hour claims, what they are really talking about is a case brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It is essentially a case to recover wages they are rightfully owed. If a person is not paid minimum wage, their claim is to be paid the full minimum wage for every hour that they worked under the minimum wage.

If a person was not paid overtime when they were entitled to overtime pay, then their claim is to recover the amount of overtime that they should have been paid. Here, someone will have a claim for overtime pay for every hour worked over 40 hours in a week that they did not receive overtime pay for. If an individual has not been paid the wages that they are owed, they should consult a Chattanooga wage and hour lawyer that could help. A skilled attorney could work towards a positive outcome for them.

Wage and Hour Laws

As a Chattanooga wage and hour lawyer could explain, wage and hour law is very different from the broader category of employment law. Wage and hour law focuses on the specific times that an employee worked. Broader employment law frequently focuses more on harassment and termination.

Most employment law cases involve some kind of harassment such as harassment following an on-the-job injury, sexual harassment, harassment based on race discrimination, disability discrimination, or religious discrimination. It can also include cases where someone is fired for whistleblowing, or where an employee is fired for making an FLSA claim or something similar. Those frequently are just not involved in wage and hour claims.

Common Wage and Hour Issues

Misclassification issues come up frequently in wage and hour cases. Most of the time, when employees are exempt, it runs across certain types of jobs. Exemption typically applies to more specialized occupations such as doctors, attorneys, or, pharmacists.

Misclassification cases more often involve manual labor-type jobs where the individual is still paid as a salaried employee. That happens more frequently than you would expect. Another example involves meal breaks. Chattanooga law requires a meal break for most employees every six hours. Employers will sometimes require an employee to clock out for 30 minutes or an hour, but then allow the employee to continue working, or require the employee to continue working during that meal break and do not pay them for it, which would be another violation of the FLSA.

Misconceptions About Wage and Hour Laws

One of the biggest misconceptions is that if someone is paid salary, it means they automatically are not entitled to overtime and do not have an FLSA case. A lot of people think it is just that simple, that salaried employees are not entitled to overtime. This is where misclassification issues will come into play.

The fact that someone may or not be a salaried employee does not on its own dictate whether or not that person is entitled to overtime pay. The biggest factor will typically be someone’s job duties. Often an employee has to fit a certain job description before that employee can be exempt from overtime even if that employee is paid on a salary basis. Therefore, salaried employees frequently are entitled to overtime and are misclassified and have an overtime claim. A Chattanooga wage and hour lawyer could help an individual dispel misconceptions about wage and hour laws and help them pursue a case.

Information to Keep in Mind

People need to know that most employees are entitled to overtime, particularly in a manual labor-type industry. Sometimes, employees are not paid any type of compensation beyond 40 hours even though they routinely work more than 40 hours. Employees are often paid at a flat hourly rate no matter how many hours they work. That might be a violation of the FLSA. Sometimes, it is more like misclassification as a salary. There are many different ways a violation of the FLSA violation can occur.

Importance of Preserving Evidence and Documentation

Before meeting with a Chattanooga wage and hour lawyer, it is important to collect any available documentation of wage and hour issues. If someone has a claim for an FLSA case, they are allowed to recover payments for up to two years and, in some cases, three years, of back pay. The longer someone waits, the more they are losing on the back end out of the amount of back pay that they can receive. Every day someone waits to see the lawyer, the more the chance is that their claim can potentially shrink.

Reasons to Contact a Chattanooga Wage and Hour Attorney

A person should contact a Chattanooga wage and hour lawyer as soon as possible once they think they might have an FLSA claim. There are a few different reasons for doing so. First, an FLSA attorney can advise an individual about the types of documents that they need to bring. They need to have certain documents to be able to prove their case. For example, a person may need to have all of their pay stubs for a several year period. The person might need to get all of their time sheets and punch-in documents covering a several year period. Without that information, it is hard to proceed with a claim. If an individual is considering pursuing a case, they should speak with a capable attorney that could review the necessary information and advocate for them.