Live to work or work to live?

The everyday stressors of our jobs can be a heavy burden for anyone. If the difficulties and pressures were not enough, too often employers fail to follow the obligations and responsibilities that they owe to their employees. Whether it be failing to pay an employee for their overtime worked, or wrongfully terminating an employee for an impermissible purpose, you may have a legal remedy for your employer’s failures.

Federal laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA), as well as many state law equivalents, provide rights for employees to ensure they are not terminated wrongfully and that they are fairly paid for all “hours worked”, including overtime, paid-breaks, and any other unpaid wages. Often times, employees are unaware of the federal and state standards, and do not think of certain hours worked as compensable hours, or think they have no recourse after being let go. Nonetheless, we are all entitled to be compensated for the work we do, and Marcus & Zelman can help you to be made whole.

Employment issues Marcus & Zelman a consumer rights law firm

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my employer subject to the FLSA?

In general terms, a “covered employer” under the FLSA must have i) two or more employees and ii) have gross revenues of $500,000 per year. If an employer does not meet the $500,000 threshold, they may still be subject to the FLSA if their employee is regularly involved in interstate transactions as part of their job duties.

If I’m finishing my work at home, does that count as “hours worked”?

Yes. We know in this modern age, many of us are connected to work almost 24/7. As a general rule, if your employer knows or should know that you are doing the work, you are entitled to be paid for that work no matter where you are doing it.

Do I need to have had approval for my overtime to be entitled to it?

No! The FLSA requires that covered employees MUST receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek at a rate of at least 1 ½ times their regular rates of pay. Your entitlement to overtime pay may NOT be waived by and agreement between you and your employer.

Would I still have a claim if I am an independent contractor?

Potentially! Sometimes, to avoid wage obligations, employers will call you an “independent contractor” and provide a 1099. However, a true “independent contractor” is someone who: (a) has their own company or is incorporated; (b) works for whomever whenever (not just the employer at issue); (c) provides their own tools and materials to do the job; (d) controls the work they do (rather than being restricted by the employer’s policies); (e) can turn down work for the employer without consequence; and (e) is truly in a separate business for him/her self. Even if you signed an independent contractor agreement, you may be classified as an employee for purposes of a Fair Labor Standards Act claim.

Am I entitled to be paid for my breaks?

Under Federal law, there is no requirement that employers provide their employees breaks. State laws where you are may add these requirements. However, if your employer voluntarily provides short breaks to you (other than for lunch), these times are considered compensable work hours and you are entitled to be paid for them. Furthermore, if you are provided a lunch period, but nonetheless you are expected to be essentially “on-call” and ready to perform your duties during that meal period, then you would be entitled to compensation for that meal “break” as well.

How do I know if my termination was “wrongful”?

This is a tough question and generally specific to each person. There are many factors that go into whether or not a termination was wrongful, and these are generally subject to each state’s own laws. For example, under New Jersey Law, an employee generally may not be terminated solely for their recreational use of marijuana outside of the work environment.
By reaching out to us for a free case review, we will be able to help you assess whether your termination was wrongful and entitles you to compensation.


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