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attorneys Chris Hall & Andrew LamprosRiverdale Employment Law Attorneys

Georgia businesses employ millions of individuals across the state. While most are paid fair compensation, some have issues receiving their wages from employers. Employees are legally entitled their wages and overtime pay. Withholding compensation from an employee could be deemed a violation of the law. If you have questions about issues concerning Riverdale employment law, talk to the legal group at Hall & Lampros, LLP. Schedule a consultation by calling 404-876-8100.

Understanding Georgia Wage Laws

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes standards for employment issues, such as minimum wage. However, Georgia laws do differ from federal standards. For example, the current minimum wage in the state is $5.15 per hour. Many Georgia employers adhere to the federal standard of $7.25 per hour to remain compliant with the FLSA. In addition to minimum wage laws, all employers need to pay their employees overtime for any week where the individuals have worked more than 40 hours. A few rules do apply, such as the overtime rate does not automatically happen after working 8 hours per day. Instead, overtime pay occurs after that 40-hour threshold.

Once again, Georgia does not have state labor laws concerning overtime pay. Still, the United States Department of Labor laws mandates employers to pay all covered, non-exempt employees those wages. Any employee that has worked over 40 hours per week must be paid at least one-and-a-half times the individual’s regular rate. When an employer requires employees to work overtime, that is not a violation of federal laws, if the worker is compensated for additional hours. By refusing to work overtime, employers have the right to fire the employee.

Do Overtime Rules Always Apply To All Workers?

For the most part, workers in Georgia must receive overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week. Some exceptions do apply. Any employee engaged in salaried administrative, professional, or executive capabilities are often exempt from the overtime requirement. Generally, salaried employees are not entitled to overtime pay. However, a few businesses may misclassify their employees as salaried workers to avoid the extra compensation. Misclassification of an employee is a violation of employment laws in the state of Georgia.

In many situations, workers who own their businesses must be treated as independent contractors. Most contractors will not receive any type of overtime compensation. But employers cannot misclassify their employees to avoid paying overtime compensation to the worker. When the independent contractor is classified correctly, that individual is eligible for only the payment specified in the contract. In the state of Georgia, there are no specific labor laws defining an independent contractor. If an employer has misclassified a worker to avoid paying overtime compensation, it may be time to talk to a Riverdale employment law attorney at Hall & Lampros, LLP.

Statute of Limitations

When filing an overtime claim, employees must adhere to all deadlines set by the FLSA. Mostly, these individuals have two years from the date of the wage violation to file a claim. Of course, a few exceptions do apply. Sometimes, labor laws can extend the statute of limitations to three years if the employer’s action was a “willful” FLSA violation. A willful violation means that the employers know that federal laws prohibit the conduct, but they still engage in reckless disregard concerning the employees’ wages.

Can an Employer Fire a Worker for Filing a Lawsuit?

An business that fires an employer for making a federal claim for their back wages has committed an illegal act. According to the FLSA, retaliation against an employee who has requested overtime compensation is an unlawful act. Also, any employee who has filed a lawsuit cannot face any type of retaliation. Some prohibited retaliation includes:

  • Harassing or firing the employee
  • Making a false statement about the worker
  • Providing unfair treatment
  • Making threats against the employee
  • Interfering with the employee’s future employment opportunities
  • Threatening to report the employee’s immigration status to an agency

Seek Advice from an Employment Law Lawyer

All employers must follow workplace laws in the state of Georgia, including fairly compensating their employees. Unfortunately, businesses fail to fairly pay their employees for various reasons. Sometimes, employers require workers to perform off-the-clock work or do not compensate them at the legal rate. All these losses are unfair to workers. When there is a discrepancy in your pay, especially overtime wages, consider protecting your rights by filing a claim within the appropriate time frame. If you have been affected by an overtime violation or another type of employment law infringement, reach out to Hall & Lampros, LLP. Schedule a consultation with a Riverdale employment law attorney at 404-876-8100.