FAQs 2017-11-01T15:33:26+00:00
Are all older workers protected under the law? 2017-10-10T21:34:19+00:00

No. The ADEA contains several exceptions:

  • Executives or others “in high policy-making positions” can be required to retire at age 65 if they would receive annual retirement pension benefits worth $44,000 or more.
  • There are special exceptions for police and fire personnel, tenured university faculty and certain federal employees having to do with law enforcement and air traffic control. If these exceptions may apply to you, check with your personnel office or an attorney for details.
  • The ADEA makes an exception when age is an essential part of a particular job — also known by the legal term “bona fide occupational qualification” or BFOQ. For example, if a company hires an actor to play the role of a 10-year old, or a teen’s clothing store needs models, the ability to appear youthful is a necessary part of the job, or a BFOQ.
Who is covered by age discrimination laws? 2017-10-10T20:52:45+00:00

Workers who are 40 years of age or older are protected by the ADEA from employment discrimination based on age if the employer regularly employs 20 or more employees.

Many states also make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of age; however, the minimum number of employees needed to bring a claim varies. For more information, please see our page on the minimum number of employees needed to file a claim under your state law.

If two workers are both protected by the ADEA, an employer still may not use age as the basis for an employment decision. For example, a company can’t hire a 45-year-old over a 62-year-old simply because of age; if the company hired the younger employee due to her age, the 62-year-old employee would still have a claim.

The ADEA’s protections apply to both employees and job applicants. If you are a current employee over 40 and are fired or not promoted due to age, you are protected. If you are not hired due to age, you are also protected.

Are you still taking claimants for the action against Windstream? 2017-10-06T20:14:12+00:00

At this time, we are no longer taking claimant for the action against Windstream due to the high volume response.  We may reopen the case at a future date.  If you’d like to be added to the list to be notified should we reopen the Windstream action, please follow the link below and enter your information into the form provided.

Windstream Action
How can I get “out” of a non-compete agreement? 2017-10-06T19:04:25+00:00
If you signed a legal and enforceable non-compete agreement, you are bound by the terms of the non-compete agreement. To many people, this may come as a surprise. They simply think they can just get out of the agreement. Well, it doesn’t work like that. However, you do have options (as like most things with the law).
You could offer to pay the employer or come to some other kind of agreement with the employer so you can do what you want to do. You’ll want to get the employer to sign a release of your non-compete agreement, along with the consideration that you’re giving the employer for the release of your non-compete agreement.
In short, make sure you fully understand the terms of the non-compete agreement before you sign it! And read legal articles like this to stay informed about your legal rights and responsibilities.
Are non-compete agreements enforceable? 2017-10-06T18:56:23+00:00

Often, individuals who sign outrageous non-compete agreements believe that the whole agreement is unenforceable. Sometimes this is true, but often it is not! Most courts will simply invalidate the parts in the non-compete agreement that are illegal and enforce the other provisions of the contract.

Can my employer make me sign an agreement not to sue in exchange for a severance package? 2017-10-06T18:53:52+00:00

It depends. An employer cannot require you to sign a release of claims (an agreement not to sue) in exchange for severance pay to which you are already entitled. For example, if your employment contract says you will be entitled to two weeks of severance for every year of service, and the contract doesn’t mention giving up the right to sue, your employer may not withhold your severance pay until you sign a release.

However, if your employer simply offers severance without being required to do so (for example, to a group of employees who are laid off), it can require you to sign a release in exchange for severance.

Is severance pay required by law? 2017-10-06T18:52:39+00:00

No. Federal law, and the law of most states, do not require employers to pay severance to departing employees. However, if your employer has contractually agreed to pay severance, it must honor that promise. Otherwise, you can sue for breach of contract. For example, if you have an employment contract promising severance, you are a member of a union whose collective bargaining agreement authorizes severance, or your employee handbook guarantees severance, you are entitled to enforce that agreement.

Can my employer be penalized for not paying me overtime? 2017-10-06T18:45:12+00:00

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), if an employer violates the overtime provisions, employees may either bring their own lawsuit or file a complaint with the Department of Labor. In either case, the potential penalties against the employer are substantial and rectifying the original problem by paying back overtime wages owed to employees is only one of the employer’s concerns.  Calculations of amounts due include the following:

1) Back Wages – payment of any overtime that an employee earned but was not paid.

2) Liquidated Damages – assessed at double the amount of back pay.

3) Shifting of Attorneys’ Fees – employer pays for employee’s attorneys’ fees.

4) Civil Penalties – if the violation is found to be willful or deliberate, a civil penalty of up to $1,100 per violation may be imposed.

5) Criminal Prosecution – possible in egregious circumstances in which willful or deliberate intent can be shown.

Are there employees that are exempt from being paid overtime? 2017-10-06T18:44:29+00:00

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) requires that most employees in the United States be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at time and a half the regular pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek.

However, Section 13(a)(1) of the FSLA provides an exemption for both minimum wage and overtime pay for those employed as bona-fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees. Section 13(a)(1) and Section 13 (a)(17) also exempt certain computer employees. To qualify for exemption, employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at no less that $455 per week.  Job titles do not determine exempt status.  In order for an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all requirements of the Department’s regulations.

Is sexual harassment only men harassing women? 2017-10-06T18:36:41+00:00

No matter who is harassing whom, it can be sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is verbal or physical abuse that amounts to discrimination against a person because of his or her sex. If the harassment is between two people of the same sex, the person who is being harassed must show that the harassment was based on his or her sex (not just the sexual desire, if any, of the harasser). The person suffering harassment also must have been treated differently than members of the opposite sex were treated.

Can my employer retaliate against me for filing a sexual harassment claim? 2017-10-06T18:36:10+00:00

No. Federal law prohibits retaliation against employees who report unlawful employment practices or who file a claim for workplace discrimination. You are also protected from retaliation for appearing as a witness in another employee’s sexual harassment lawsuit.

Can My Employer Fire Me If I’m Pregnant? 2017-10-06T17:43:09+00:00

If your employer has at least 15 employees, it cannot fire you because of your pregnancy. (Your state may also have an anti-discrimination law that applies to smaller employees.) However, the key word is “because.” As long as the reason for your termination isn’t related to your pregnancy, your employer is acting legally. In other words, being pregnant does not give you guaranteed job protection for any reason. Your employer can still fire you for nondiscriminatory reasons.

What Is a Hostile Work Environment? 2017-10-06T17:41:25+00:00

The same laws that prohibit discrimination also prohibit harassment in the workplace. Harassment is unwelcome conduct based on a protected characteristic—such as race, religion, or gender—that the employee must endure in order to keep his or her job or that creates a hostile work environment.

To bring a hostile work environment claim, you must show that:

  • the unwelcome conduct was based on a protected characteristic
  • the conduct was severe or pervasive, and
  • a reasonable person would have found the work environment hostile, intimidating, or offensive.
I lost my job. Do I have a wrongful termination claim? 2017-10-06T17:18:53+00:00

Wrongful termination only covers limited situations — for example, if your employer fired you as illegal retaliation because you exercised your rights. Our attorneys can examine your situation and provide a realistic assessment of whether you have a claim for wrongful discharge.

Can I get fired or demoted for enforcing my rights? 2017-10-06T17:17:45+00:00

Your employer cannot retaliate against you for enforcing your rights as an employee. Illegal retaliation can take many forms, including suspensions, demotions, unfavorable treatment or outright termination. If you believe you have suffered illegal retaliation, contact our firm to discuss your rights.

I’ve found out that my employer is engaging in illegal or unethical conduct. Should I report it? 2017-10-06T17:17:03+00:00

Whistleblowers — that is, employees who report illegal or unethical conduct — are entitled to legal protections. Depending on the situation, you may even be entitled to compensation for reporting wrongful conduct under the federal False Claims Act. Before taking action, however, it’s best to speak with a lawyer about how to protect your livelihood while doing the right thing.

My employer refuses to grant me leave, even though I qualify for it under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). What should I do? 2017-10-27T20:12:49+00:00

If your employer has violated your rights under the FMLA — whether by denying your request for leave, refusing to take you back, or outright firing you − you should contact an attorney.

What laws regulate the wages and hours in my workplace? 2017-10-06T17:12:48+00:00

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the main federal law governing minimum wage, overtime pay and child labor. It applies to most employers, including the federal government, state and local governments and most private employers. The FLSA does not regulate matters like sick time, vacations, severance pay or breaks.

 

What is the difference between “at-will” employment and employment based on a contract? 2017-10-06T17:03:21+00:00

At-will employment means that the employee can be let go at any time as long as the reason is not based on illegal discrimination or other illegal grounds. The at-will employee can also quit at any time. An employment relationship that is contractually based, however, is governed by the terms of the contract and the applicable laws. The contract may dictate the employee can only be fired for cause.