Emploment Laws

Thanks to the Fair Labor Standard Act and the many amendments done to it through the years, many employees are able to receive just compensation for their hard work and appropriate protection for any violation that may occur in the workplace. One of the things that the FLSA upholds is an employee’s right to overtime wages. According to the Department of Labor, barring a few exceptions, all employees are expected to receive overtime wages that are 1.5 times more than their regular rate for any task performed outside their 40-hour work week.

Despite the best efforts of the government to ensure that employees in the United States are properly compensated, many employers continue to violate the requirements on overtime pay. This is particularly true in the hotel and restaurant industry. According to Leichter Law Firm, off-the-clock violations are the most common in this industry. Employees that are expected to begin working before the start of their shift and to continue working through breaks and meal periods, as well as after the end of their shift should take note of the paycheck they receive. In all these cases, an employee is entitled to receive the extra 1.5 rate for every hour. The wages they receive for this additional work should also incorporate any tips received for the day.

Hotel and restaurant employers who commit violations to overtime laws and other similar wage-related laws can be held accountable by aggrieved employees in the court of law. All employees working in the U.S. reserve the right to pursue legal action against these employers that prevent them from enjoying fair labor treatment. Employees in Texas are also protected by a number of state legislation meant to reinforce the clauses delineated in the FLSA. Consult with an experienced Texas overtime pay attorney for more information about overtime pay provisions and other laws relevant to your current situation.

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A higher hourly minimum wage and more job security are what most employees in the US need right now, especially those who are employed in industries that give lower pay, such as employment, retail and food services. Low-paying jobs actually began to be created in 2010 (after the recession), replacing mid-wage jobs, which saw the lay-off of thousands of middle-income earners.

The creation of many new jobs that pay low wages may not be the only source of dismay to the so many unemployed who are still seeking work, though. Probably equally worrisome, as being paid a lower wage or being laid off, is the growing practice in many firms, which is granting “at will” employment to applicants.

The “Employment at Will” doctrine, which is now legally practiced by companies in almost all US states, recognizes the right of an employee to resign from work anytime; in like manner, it gives the employer the right to terminate an employee whenever he/she wishes. Resignation from work or termination of work may be done whether the reason is justifiable or not, or even if there is no reason at all, and no court would usually intervene to protect the employee unless any of the laws that protect employee rights has been violated.

Job application forms and employees’ handbooks usually indicate this “at will” phrase. Refusal to affix one’s signature on any employment contract that will indicate conformity to the “at will” policy may result to being denied employment or termination.

Despite the legality of the “Employment at Will” doctrine, employers should realize that such is not a ticket to discriminately end one’s employment. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which implements anti-discrimination laws, as well as the courts, will not simply dismiss termination cases where there are cries of foul play or discriminatory acts.

Many wrongful termination cases have been proven in spite of the “at will” employment policy. The most common causes of wrongful termination are retaliation of a superior against an employee, whistle blowing, an employee refusing to perform an illegal act for his/her employer, and employment discrimination practices.

On its website, The Melton Law Firm strongly emphasizes that employers are legally accountable for the wrongful termination of any of their employees. And that, despite the “at will” policy, employers’ right to terminate any one is still limited by certain laws.

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