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Wage and Hour Attorney Overview

Lawyer Representation in Employment Disputes

The laws of the United States provide employees with certain rights and protections, including the right to be fairly compensated for the hours they work. While the laws are straightforward in most cases, disputes often arise between employers and employees, and employees who are not being compensated correctly may be able to pursue a wage and hour lawsuit against their employer.

If you believe that you are not being compensated correctly because your employer has violated wage and hour laws, you should secure the services of an experienced employment law attorney. A skilled lawyer can help you understand how state and federal laws apply to your situation and advise you of your options for obtaining relief from your employer.

Wage and Hour Laws

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour as of July 2009. While some states have set higher minimum wages, no employer may pay employees less than the minimum wage. Employees who receive tips (such as restaurant wait staff) may be paid $2.13 per hour by their employer, as long as this amount, when added to the tips they receive, is at least the minimum wage.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides certain additional protections to workers. For example, employees must typically be paid 1.5 times their normal hourly rate of pay for any time worked more than 40 hours per week. However, certain employees, such as salaried employees, truck drivers, and agricultural workers, are classified as exempt and are not entitled to overtime pay.

Wage and hour disputes often arise when employees are misclassified as exempt. In most professions, exempt employees must be paid at least $23,600 per year on a salary basis, and they must perform certain types of job duties. These duties can include:

  • Executive - Work focusing on management involving supervision of at least two employees, with influence in job-related decisions such as promotion or termination.
  • Professional - Work requiring advanced education (such as a college degree) or specialized training.
  • Administrative - Office work done to provide significant support for a company, including management of business operations or customer relationships.

While employers must follow federal minimum wage laws and compensate employees fairly under the Fair Labor Standards Act, they must also follow any applicable state laws. These laws may specify the maximum number of hours an employee can work, the frequency at which employees must be paid, or the amount employers are required to pay tipped employees.

If you believe that you have not been compensated fairly for the work you have done for your employer, an employment law attorney can help you understand your options for enforcing wage and hour laws and pursuing a lawsuit to recover the wages you are owed.

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