What comes to mind when you hear the term fair employment? Most people immediately think of anti-discrimination policies, child labor laws, and minimum wage requirements. While those are all important aspects of fair employment, there are several other guidelines employers must follow under these legal strictures.
If you suspect malpractice or mistreatment at your place of employment, then it is important to understand the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as what course of action to take. Consider this your guide to fair employment so you can protect your rights.
A Worker’s Guide To Fair Employment
What Is The FLSA?
The Fair Labor Standards Act became a US law back in 1938. It initially gave workers the right to a minimum wage, time-and-a-half when exceeding 40 hours, as well as protected minors from exploitation in the workplace.
.Amendments to this federal law have been made over time. While the FLSA covers the bare minimum of employer’s responsibilities for benefits, allotting time for mothers with newborns, and different types of compensation for different kinds of workers. The state you live in, however, will also have its own set of labor laws.
This makes it crucial to understand what rights your state gives you as an employee. Every employer must follow both federal and state guidelines but must adhere to the state’s if they are higher than what is in the FLSA.
Protecting Your Rights
Often times, employees are afraid to take action against their employer for fear of retaliation. What if they fire you, cut back your hours, or treat you unfairly? Is there anyone who can protect you if they do these things?
Under the FLSA, employers are forbidden to discriminate against you after you have reported them. Not every boss or manager is going to comply with this, but you can file suit for relief with the Secretary of Labor for any damages, lost wages, and even reinstatement.
The WHD (Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor) enforces the guidelines set forth by the FLSA. They will conduct an investigation to determine the scope of violations, then take the appropriate course of legal action and recover any back wages necessary for employees.
Outside Of The FLSA
What should you do if your employer has violated state laws, but not the federal law? What if the dispute is over a pension plan, disability pay, or insurance benefits? In these cases, you will need to hire a lawyer.
For instance, if your employer did not offer the disability benefits outlined in their plan, then finding the best lawyer for ERISA disability would help you get the compensation you deserve. ERISA is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and it covers almost all aspects FLSA does not.
The Department of Labor has plenty of resources and useful information on their website regarding ERISA. Some of the areas enforced by these laws are:
- Child Care Assistance
- Mental Health Benefits
- Newborn and Mother Protections
- HIPAA and more
Talk to Your Employer First
Before taking drastic measures, see if you can resolve your situation with your employer first. Most employee mistreatments are related to unfair payments and overtime. If your company uses software work hour tracker like Clockspot, this dispute can be settled quickly. However, if your company still hasn’t gotten on this wagon, use emails, phone listings to prove how long you worked for.
As an employee in America, you are entitled to certain rights under fair employment. Understanding those rights and knowing what course of action to take when they are violated is an essential part of being a worker. Don’t settle for unfair treatment, ever.