Employment law violations are far too common. In many cases, employers are aware that they are violating the law and they are simply trying to get away with it for their own benefit. However, in other cases, these violations are completely unintentional. Such violations are still a serious matter that require legal action.
Employment Law Basics
- Wage laws – Wage and hour laws are intended to make sure that hourly employees earn a fair wage for their work. In general, hourly employees must receive at least a minimum wage for every hour worked.
- Overtime laws – When an hourly employee works more than 40 hours in a single week, he or she must receive compensation equal to at least 1.5 times his or her normal hourly wage for every overtime hour worked.
- Meal and break laws – The state of Florida requires employers to provide a 30-minute meal period to any employee age 18 or under who works more than 4 consecutive hours. However, state law does not require any meals or breaks for employees over the age of 18. Federal law requires that any breaks of less than 20 minutes be paid as time worked.
- Discrimination – Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of certain characteristics, such as citizenship, age, disability, sex, religion, color and race.
- Retaliation for complaints – Employers are not permitted to retaliate against employees who make complaints about the company or its activities.
- Owed Pay/Benefits – When an employee earns benefits or wages, the employer must release them to the employee.
When Employers Break the Law
Employers may violate workers’ rights in a variety of ways. For example, the employer may attempt to withhold wages in order to punish the employee for leaving the job or filing a complaint against the company. The employer may also refuse to pay minimum wage or overtime. In addition, some employers may violate an employee’s contract by terminating the employee unfairly or refusing to uphold some other responsibility mentioned in the contract. In these cases, employers are usually aware that their actions are not legal.
However, in other cases, employment violation may be entirely unintentional. The employer may have accidentally classified an employee as exempt from wage and hour laws, leading to an underpayment of hourly wages or overtime. Other employers may simply be unaware of laws regarding meals, breaks and other issues.
What to Do If Your Employer Violates Your Rights
Some employees mistakenly believe that an employer’s ignorance of an employment law will excuse the employer from any violations. However, this is not the case. Your employer is responsible for knowing and understanding all the applicable state and federal laws. When these laws are violated, regardless of the reason, the employer is liable.
If you believe that your rights as an employee have been violated, you can take action against the employer with the help of a competent attorney. In many cases, you will be able to recover damages and/or force some specific performance from the employer, such as the restoration of your job. Please contact Feldman Williams today to learn more about employment law violations and your options as an employee.