Under federal law, there are two primary kinds of paid workers: employees, and independent contractors. And whether intentionally or accidentally, employers are mixing up the two, to the detriment of their own workers. Being misclassified can have major financial and legal implications to an employee, and it’s important to know what to do if you think you’ve been misclassified. Continue reading “The Scourge of Misclassified Employees”
When people talk about labor law and unionization, one of the arguments that often comes up is about the so-called “right to work.” It’s often brought up as one of the reasons not to unionize, and “right to work” legislation has been passed in many states throughout the country. But what, exactly, is the “right to work,” and why do union organizers hate it so much? Continue reading “What is the “Right to Work?””
The Constitution of the United States guarantees its citizens the right to freely associate, and to peacefully assemble for political purposes. However, the modern labor union only dates to the 1930s, with the passage of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Until that point, labor unions were made illegal, and were often broken up by police, or sometimes even by the State or National Guard. Moreover, there are still many people who are not allowed to legally unionize, or who have their right to organize significantly restricted. How can this be true? Continue reading “The Right to Unionize”
When people think of employment discrimination, whether based on gender, race, age, sexuality or disability, they usually have a specific picture of what that looks like. They imagine bigoted tirades or inappropriate physical contact, or managers or executives outright declaring their refusal to treat certain kinds of people as equals. That said, with employers now more conscious of lawsuits than ever, discrimination can often take more subtle forms. Continue reading “When Employment Discrimination Gets Sneaky”
When people think about what an employer might examine to evaluate their employees, they think of things like their resume or curriculum vitae, their references, their criminal background check or even how they dress. However, many employers now add an additional step to their employee evaluation process: a credit check. Most people may be surprised to discover an employer can do this, and they’re probably curious as to why. Continue reading “Can My Employer Really Look at My Credit History?”
When you get hired for a job, the terms of your employment are supposed to be laid out for you before you agree to be hired. This includes your benefits, your hours, your vacation and sick days, and of course, your wages. However, not every employer will stick to their end of the bargain. Some will choose not to pay overtime or will refuse to pay for all the hours you worked, or they’ll deny you sick days or vacation days that you’re entitled to. Some will refuse to pay you your last paycheck when you leave, and some may “forget” to pay you at all. Continue reading “The Problem of Wage Theft”
In a recent ruling, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that Uber drivers, and other ride-share drivers working for companies like Lyft, are independent contractors rather than employees. This means they do not have the right to unionize and are not afforded many of the legal protections they would receive if they were considered employees. Uber considers this ruling a major victory, as most of their workforce are drivers working under ride-share agreements, and their financial and legal obligations would have substantially increased if their drivers were ruled to be employees instead.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor released a proposal that would limit wage claims against chain corporations like McDonald’s for employment-law violations filed against franchise owners or contractors. This announcement comes just days after McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant chain, released a statement that it will stop lobbying in Congress against industry wage hikes.
Continue reading “Federal Government Seeks to Limit Wage Claims Against Large Chains”
Prospective employers, under law, cannot ask a prospective job applicant such questions as “How old are you?” “Aren’t you a little old to apply for this job?” or “What year were you born?” This applies to companies accepting online applications.
Placing a question about the job seeker’s date of birth or year of graduation from college may be illegal because it allows the interviewer to dismiss the applicant on the basis he or she is “too old” or “overqualified.”
Continue reading “The Employees Lawyer Weighs in on Age Discrimination in the Workplace”
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently proposed a rule that would raise the salary levels for certain employees who are eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. It would be the first update in 15 years. Currently, those who make less than $455 per week, or $23,660 a year, are required to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. (This has been in effect since 2004.)
Continue reading “U.S. Department of Labor Proposes Increasing 2004 Salary Levels for Overtime Eligibility”