Smolen Law’s employment law team practices exclusively plaintiff representation in both federal and state court. We are dedicated to protecting clients’ rights in all areas of employment litigation, including (but not limited to) claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation; workers’ compensation retaliation; and claims involving breach of contract. The law specifically protects employees against discrimination based on race and color, gender, age, national origin, religion, and disability, as well as against an employer’s retaliation against an individual for consulting an attorney, submitting a grievance, or filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Employment-related Class Actions
- Pattern and practice discrimination
- Disparate impact (centralized policies that negatively affect minority employees)
- Race discrimination
- Pregnancy discrimination
- National origin discrimination
- Age discrimination
- Retaliation for reporting harassment
- Abuse of power/verbal abuse/lewd comments
- Hostile work environment
- Religious discrimination
- Failure to correct workplace harassment
- Disability discrimination
- Reverse discrimination
Harassment in the Workplace
- Sexual assault/sexual advances
- Racially hostile environments
- Sex/gender discrimination
- Requiring sexual favors for advancement
If you have been subject to any discrimination or harassment at your workplace or by your coworkers/boss, you deserve the best representation. Contact our office to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys today.
OVERTIME AND WAGE CLAIMS
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law which sets standards for minimum wage, overtime pay, and record keeping. The FLSA provides remedies for employees who have unpaid wages from their employers and punishes the employers who refuse to pay. The Department of Labor estimates that as many as 80% of employers are not in compliance with applicable wage and hour laws.
The FLSA has two major portions, the first pertaining to the federal minimum wage. The FLSA sets the minimum wage for most employees in the U.S. As of July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Employers are required to alert their employees of any change to the minimum wage.
The second part of the FLSA establishes when overtime is required and who it must be paid to. A workweek is any continuous seven-day period, overtime must be paid whenever more than 40 hours is worked during that period. Certain classes of employees are exempted from overtime, but oftentimes employers will attempt to mischaracterize employees in order to avoid paying overtime.
Employers use a number of tactics to avoid paying their employees over time, including shortchanging their hours worked. Employers may not deduct break times that last under 20 minutes from the number of hours worked. Many employers however require employees to take regular breaks and do not compensate for those breaks. Employers will avoid overtime by insisting that an employee clock out to finish work that still needs to be completed.
Common FLSA claims we handle:
- Minimum wage violations
- Mischaracterizing employees as independent contractors
- Employers who fail to compensate employees for “off-the-clock” work
- Missed paydays
- Improperly excluding wage enhancements
- Paying hourly employees a salary
- Not reimbursing employees for employment related expenses
Remedies available for FLSA violations:
- Unpaid wages
- Unpaid overtime wages
- Interest on any unpaid wages
- Attorney’s fees
FLSA/Wage and Hour Class Actions
A class action is a suit in which one person or a small group of people sue on behalf of many others who have similar circumstances. A unique aspect of the FLSA is that the statute provides for claims to be brought collectively by groups of employees to recover unpaid minimum wage or overtime pay on behalf of themselves “and other employees similarly situated.” These “collective actions” are a form of representative class action.
There are many benefits to filing a class action lawsuit. Class action suits make it such that a person with a small claim that may not otherwise be able to bring a suit has the ability to challenge what has happened to them. Furthermore, a defendant is much more likely to take an employee’s claim seriously if it is combined with other employees and plead as a class action.