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Employment Discrimination Blog

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Don't Get Shortchanged: Wage and Hour Claims in Georgia

What are the common wage violations by employers? 

In Georgia, many individuals work hard to make a living and they are entitled to fair pay. Because the state has not enacted wage and hour laws, however, employers are required to pay the federal minimum wage and comply with other provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law requiring employees to be paid a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and overtime pay for hours workers over 40 hours per week at a rate of time and a half.

Certain employees, however, such as executive, administrative and professionals, are exempt from the overtime requirement. While Georgia has a $5.15 minimum wage, employees are entitled to be paid the federal minimum wage. Wage and hour claims are often the result of an employer misclassifying a non-exempt employee as exempt and fails to pay overtime.

What is a tip credit?

Under the FLSA, employers may pay tipped employees, such as restaurant workers, less than the minimum wage if the amount of tips they earn brings their hourly wage up to the $7.25 an hour threshold. This is known as a tip credit. Workers who rely on tips to earn a living are often victims of wage theft when employers take inappropriate tip credits.

Rest breaks

Unlike other states, Georgia law does not require employers to provide employees meal time or rest breaks while on the clock, and employees do not have this right under the FSLA as well. If your employers allows you to take breaks, however, you have a right to be paid for any short breaks or any time where you are required to work, such as by having lunch at your desk.

Can I file a wage and hour claim?

In spite of the applicable rules under FLSA, some employers in Georgia violate the law by miscalculating employees' pay, not paying them in a timely manner, or failing to pay overtime. By filing a wage and hour claim, you may be able to recover the wages that you were not paid as well liquidated damages for financial losses you may have suffered. Ultimately, employees who have been victims of wage theft should engage the services of an experienced employment law attorney. Similarly, it is equally important for employers to consult with an attorney to ensure their policies adhere to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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