Have you ever received your paycheck and realized that you were not paid time and a half for hours worked in excess of forty hours in a given week? If the answer is yes, you may be able to file a claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), to argue the fact that your rights were violated.
The FLSA is a set of laws that lay out the protections awarded to laborers or employees by the federal government. These are standards established by law that determine how an employee must be treated and paid adequately and in compliance with the law.
FLSA requires employers to pay most employees at least the federal minimum wage (currently $7.25 per hour), and to receive overtime compensation for every hour worked in excess of 40 hours per week. However, there are exceptions to the FLSA. Exempt employees are not protected under the FLSA. Exempt employees are those whose primary duties are executive, administrative, or professional in nature, as well as outside salespersons and those with computer related occupations, while Non-Exempt employees (most hourly paid employees), are protected by the provisions of the FLSA.
If an employee believes that a violation of the FLSA has occurred, the law entitles them to lodge an anonymous complaint with the WHD. The identity of the person who filed a complaint cannot be revealed unless ordered by the court. If you want to file a complaint, you can do so anonymously.
Additionally, employment laws state that an employer cannot fire or discriminate against an employee because they made an FLSA complaint or participated in the trial surrounding a complaint.
FLSA complaints can be filed with the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Once the DOL receives a report of a violation, they will send out investigators to contact the employer and initiate an investigation of the potential wage and hour violations. The WHD representatives will conduct investigations and gather data on wages, hours, and other employment conditions in order to determine compliance with the law regardless of workers’ immigration status.
Before actually filing a report, you will need to gather some information. The following information may be useful:
- Your contact information (name, address, and phone number)
- Name, location, and phone number of the company
- Name and contact information of your manager or owner of the company
- Your title, the nature of your work, and your job duties
- Your method and frequency of payment
Additional materials, such as copies of your most recent pay stubs and timecards or any information used to keep track of hours worked can be beneficial to your case.
During the complaint process, no one investigates the immigration status of the employee. Undocumented workers are also entitled to minimum wage and overtime compensation, and the employer cannot use the employee’s immigration status in their defense in court.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Generally, a two-year statute of limitations applies to “non-willful” violations such as the recovery of back wages and liquidated damages. A three-year statute of limitations applies in cases involving “willful” violations. Employees should contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect their rights.
The FLSA is a federal wage law that applies across the country. However, depending on your state, you may enjoy additional rights and protections according to state and local laws. Also, an employee may be able to file a private lawsuit against their employer for back pay, plus liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees, and court costs.
If you believe your employer violated the FLSA, we can assist you with reporting the violation to the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. If your job has been misclassified, or you’ve been wrongly deprived of wages or overtime pay for any reason, contact Eskins King & Marney P.C. at (901) 578-6902, ext. 102. and speak to an experienced employment attorney to find out what your rights are and to evaluate your options of filing an FLSA lawsuit to recover what is rightfully yours.