Employment is Heavily Regulated by State and Federal Law
Federal and state laws highly regulate the employer-employee relationship. This includes how you pay your employees, how you hire them, how you fire them, and how you treat them in general. Any business choosing to employ must become acutely aware of the various laws and regulations or face stiff legal penalties. Most employment laws impose personal liability upon business owners. Running afoul of one of these laws cannot only bankrupt your business, but potentially bankrupt its owners.
Our Employment Attorney Routinely Advises Business Clients on Wage and Hour Disputes
Wage and hour laws are primarily imposed by the federal government under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), as well as addition state laws in both Ohio and Georgia. Both FLSA and state law require that employees be paid at least minimum wage and that they are paid time and a half for overtime work. The FLSA also regulates when employees can be paid a salary, rather than an hourly wage.
While this seems simple enough, employers often face staggering liability by mistakenly classifying employees as independent contractors. FLSA defines exactly who an employee is. Labeling a worker as an independent contractor is irrelevant to a court’s legal inquiry of whether someone is actually an employee under FLSA, even if there is a signed independent contractor agreement.
Thus, violations often occur when an employer has wrongfully labeled a worker as an independent contractor and does not pay that individual overtime wages. If a business makes this mistake, they will be responsible for paying the employee double the wages they are owed as well as their attorney fees. And because courts must approve any settlement under the FLSA, it’s unlikely the employee’s attorney will bother to give you any notice; they will file a lawsuit and start accumulating fees as fast as possible.
All businesses choosing to employ should consult with a competent Columbus & Atlanta employment attorney to ensure their workers are properly classified, that workers are properly receiving a salary in lieu of an hourly wage, and that workers are being properly compensated in accordance with minimum wage and overtime laws.
Our Employment Lawyer Advises Businesses on Anti-Discrimination Laws
Apart from wage and hour laws, various state and federal laws also regulate employment with respect to discrimination. Under various statutes, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the American with Disabilities Act, employers are forbidden from discriminating based upon protected classifications, including, but not limited to, race, age, sex, sexual orientation, disabilities, religion, veteran status, and national origin.
While few employers intentionally discriminate, many employers face liability under these statutes through activity that has a disparate impact on one of the protected classes. For instance, employers have faced liability for allegedly discriminating in hiring practices by asking inappropriate questions about these protected classifications (e.g. asking are you Catholic in a job interview) or for retaliating against an employee for making reports of discrimination.
Employers must have comprehensive employment policies in place to ensure none of these laws are violated, even incidentally.
Contact Our Columbus & Atlanta Employment Lawyer to Ensure Your Business is Complying with all Relevant Employment Laws. I have advised clients in many industries on employment laws to ensure appropriate policies are in place. In addition, I have defended employers in both federal and state court against lawsuits for wage and hour claims as well as claims of discrimination. Give me a call today so that we can discuss your business’s needs.