Atlanta Employment Attorneys Handling Wage & Hour Collective and Class Actions
Helping Georgia employees who’ve been denied fair pay
Employees deserve to be paid for the work they do. Many workers live from paycheck to paycheck, so every dollar counts. But this has not stopped some employers from taking advantage of their employees, and denying them fair wages or overtime.
Atlanta wage & hour attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP handle wage & hour collective actions on behalf of Georgia’s employees. When large, national companies and corporations create discriminatory policies or actively engage in wage theft, our Atlanta employment law attorneys are here to help. Contact us today if you believe that your employer is harming you and your fellow employees.
This was my first time having to seek legal counsel on an employment issue so I was a bit nervous about the process. I was referred to Ed Buckley by a friend I respect and trust, and one that has over 20 years of experience in law. Mr. Buckley made the process much less intimidating for me. Many thanks to Mr. Buckley and team for helping me. I'd definitely hire them again. – Google review
How can we help?
- A brief explanation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- What types of wage & hour claims do your Atlanta attorneys handle?
- What are the exemptions under federal overtime laws?
- What happens if my employer retaliates against me for making a claim?
- How much can I receive if my Atlanta compensation claim is successful?
- Do you have an overtime, wage, and hour attorney near me?
A brief explanation Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
One of the oldest federal employment laws is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This depression-era federal law set forth certain minimum wage and overtime standards applicable to virtually all U.S. employers. The FLSA covers a number of different areas, including child labor laws.
The FLSA provides numerous compensation protections including the creation of minimum wages, overtime pay, and recordkeeping standards. As of July 24, 2009, the minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees under FLSA is $7.25 for each hour of work. Georgia follows the FLSA guidelines in regard to minimum wage, though exceptions apply for tipped workers.
What types of wage & hour claims do your Atlanta attorneys handle?
Under the FLSA, an individual employee or a group of employees may file a claim if they believe their rights have been violated. Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP represents groups of employees in collective or class actions – actions in which numerous wronged employees work to achieve an outcome which is beneficial to all of them. We file these complex lawsuits on behalf of a group of similarly situated employees in cases involving:
- Misclassification of employees
- Overtime pay
- Compensable working hours claims, including:
- Travel time violations
- Pre- and post-shift work duties
- Sick time violations
- Meal and break time violations
- Failing to pay for off-the-clock work
- Illegal tip pooling
- Withheld commissions
- Deferred compensation
Collective actions vs. class actions
Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP also handles both class action and collective action lawsuits on behalf of employees. Class actions and collective actions are similar, in that they both involve groups of similarly aggrieved employees filing a lawsuit against an employer. The primary difference is that in a collective action, all employees must opt to be part of the claim. In a class action, all employees are automatically part of the claim unless they opt out.
What does this mean in terms of the outcome of the case? If a settlement is reached in a collective action, the courts will typically approve the agreement so long as it’s fair to all members who joined the action. As such, the process is generally faster.
In a class action, though, there’s often a two-step approval process, so it takes longer. But the “tricky” part is that any employee who did not opt out of the class action is now barred from filing an individual claim.
What are the exemptions under federal overtime laws?
Overtime law states all employees who are not exempt from the FLSA must be paid at a rate of one and one half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in any workweek. The most important issue in overtime law is whether or not the law applies to the type of work you do – whether or not you are exempt. If you make over a certain amount of money per week, and you perform a certain type of "white collar" work, then you are exempt from overtime. This means your employer need not pay you time and a half no matter how many hours you work in a week.
There are three principal exemptions under the FLSA: Executive, Administrative, and Professional. Employees fulfill these exemptions if they fit the salary basis test and the specific tests for each category. From the U.S. Department of Labor website:
- The employee’s primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise;
- The employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent; and
- The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees must be given particular weight.
- The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and
- The employee’s primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.
Professional Exemption: Learned Professional
- The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment;
- The advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and
- The advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.
Professional Exemption: Creative Professional
- The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.
Additional exemptions may also apply for:
- Computer employees
- Outside sales employees
- Highly compensated employees
- First responders
There are a number of arcane overtime rules and broad exemptions that employers often rely on in an attempt to avoid paying overtime. As a result, unpaid overtime is one of the most frequent sources of employee complaints. Overtime class action cases are probably the fastest growing type of employment litigation in our federal court system.
Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP can assist you in a wide array of overtime collective action and class action claims.
What is the salary basis test?
The salary basis test means that you must be paid a real salary to be exempt. That means you receive a fixed and predetermined sum of money each pay period. This fixed amount does not vary with the number of hours you work or the quality of your work.
For your employer to establish your work falls under an exemption, they must prove you are paid no less than $684 per week on a salary basis. Additionally, they must prove your principal duties are executive, administrative, or professional in nature. Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP understands the criteria used to determine if an employee works in an executive, administrative, or professional job.
What happens if my employer retaliates against me for making a claim?
Employers do not have the right to fire or discriminate against an employee who files complaints or provides information about wages, overtime pay, and hours workers. If workplace retaliation does happen, notify Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP. We’ll help you file a claim for job reinstatement, lost wages and benefits, liquidated damages. We may also seek payment of your legal fees.
How much can I receive if my Atlanta compensation claim is successful?
Collective actions and class actions can end up costing employers millions of dollars, but there is no set-in-stone amount of compensation an employee can or will receive. It depends on the exact nature and details of your case, along with the number of members of the action. However, you may be entitled to:
- Repayment of back pay/wages
- Lost wages and benefits
- Liquidated damages
- Attorneys’ fees
- Injunctive relief
- Punitive damages (if applicable)
Do you have an overtime and wage & hour attorney near me?
Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP is based in Atlanta; our office is located at 600 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 3900. We also speak with clients by phone and through video consultations. We proudly serve clients throughout Georgia, including those in Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, and Savannah.
We understand how much you need every dollar you earned. Our attorneys have the experience and resources to help you obtain justice.
Contact our Atlanta employment law attorneys today
Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP understands what evidence you need to show you met your part of the bargain – you did your job and put in your hours. Our Atlanta attorneys build your collective action case step-by-step. We’ll help you obtain the money you worked for and deserve. We’ve helped many Georgia employees like you and your colleagues assert their right to full pay. Please call or contact us today to schedule a consultation with a respected employment lawyer.
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