As an employee, you are entitled to a certain amount of protection under federal law. In this regard, one of the major statutes is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA, which is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor (DOL) primarily covers pay level and work hours and protects against employer retaliation. There are a litany of other federal laws on the books that provide protection against workplace discrimination. These include Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act and several others. Focusing mainly on the FLSA, the following will outline some of the fundamental protections you have as a worker in the US.
First off, it’s important to understand whether you fall within the purview of federal labor laws, namely the FLSA. To begin with, with some exceptions, businesses must pull in a profit exceeding $500,000 in order to be subject to the FLSA. In addition, public institutions and hospitals of various kinds (including those dealing with mental health issues) also fall under the aegis of this law.
If you are a worker who is not employed by an agency or business of the kind described above, you may still be covered by this statute. If you work for a company that deals in interstate commerce or if your job is essential for the furtherance of such commerce then you may be eligible for the benefits and protection provided by the FLSA. If you communicate across state lines, regularly travel to other states or deal with products being sent between states, you might be covered by FLSA’s provisions concerning child labor, recordkeeping, overtime and minimum wage.
And if you are a domestic service laborer, you may also be entitled to such protections. This type of work includes housekeeping, babysitting, chauffeuring and other similar positions.
Worker protections dealing with discrimination (such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act) are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and have different criteria. For instance, if you work for a private business and wish to bring Title VII complaints, then the business for which you work must have more than 15 employees. It is essential that those employees have been working for the company for at least 20 weeks. For more information about the standards of coverage for discrimination-based claims at the federal level, visit the EEOC’s website.
The FLSA specifically guards against issues pertaining to overtime, minimum wage, child labor and recordkeeping. This law also provides recourse to those who have been wronged by their employers. For instance, if your boss has failed to pay you, you are entitled to sue with the backing of the DOL to obtain compensation for back wages and other penalties. In some egregious cases, employers may face criminal prosecution.
Further, employers are not allowed, under the FLSA, to terminate a worker as a response to complaints filed against the company. If you are fired as recompense for exposing the company’s wrongdoing, the DOL can pursue compensation on your behalf. You may also choose to file claims on your own. Either way you might be entitled to remuneration for any lost income in addition to getting your job back.
To maximize your chances for receiving just compensation, you should retain an attorney who is experienced with the complexities of employment law. As observed on JHShoemaker.com, it can be incredibly beneficial to utilize the services of a lawyer when seeking compensation from an employer, as he or she can give you a sense of all your options in terms of federal and state law.