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  • EEOC Sues Georgia Power For Disability Discrimination

    January 30th, 2014

    | Categories: Employment LawDiscrimination

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed a lawsuit against Georgia Power Company (Georgia Power), claiming that the company violated federal law when it did not hire individuals whom the company perceived as disabled. Additionally, the suit alleged that the company would not permit employees return to work after they had been released from their doctors' care. As alleged, such actions are prohibited by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, employers are not allowed to discriminate against anyone with a current disability or anyone who has a prior record of disability.

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  • Understanding Wrongful Termination

    January 16th, 2014

    | Categories: Employment LawWrongful Termination

    Many individuals who work in Georgia are already aware of the fact that their employment is "at will." What that means is that an employer in Georgia is allowed to terminate an individual for practically any reason. Georgia courts typically state that an employee can be terminated for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. So how can someone working in Georgia be "wrongfully terminated?" The answer is that there is no generic claim in Georgia for “wrongful termination.” Instead, there are various specific claims—such as retaliation, discrimination, or breach of contract—that sometimes arise when an employee is terminated.

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  • Corporate Counsel: Labor and Employment in 2013: Looking Back and Forward

    January 8th, 2014

    | Categories: Employment Law

    Inhouse attorneys had a lot to think about in 2013, from the legal pitfalls of cloud computing and the growing popularity of outsourcing legal processes to the difficulties faced by law firm partners. On the labor and employment front, there’s been plenty going on as well.

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  • FedEx Sued For FLSA, EPA Violations

    December 17th, 2013

    | Categories: Employment Law

    One tool that is often used by employers to protect themselves from liability is an employment contract. Some contract protections that have been approved by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals include contracts that limit the amount of time in which an employee can file a discrimination suit against an employer. However, the same court recently refused to recognize a clause in a contract that limited an employee's right under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to file a wage and hour claim.

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  • Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Atlanta-Area Resturant

    December 10th, 2013

    | Categories: Employment LawSexual Harassment/Hostile Work Environment

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against the owner of a well-known Atlanta-area restaurant/nightclub, Taboo 2 Bar and Bistro. The agency has alleged that Sirdah Enterprises, Inc. broke the law by permitting, on an ongoing basis, sexual harassment to take place with respect to its female servers throughout the course of their careers with the company.

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  • A Brief Overview Of Georgia's Hour And Wage Laws

    December 3rd, 2013

    | Categories: Wage & Hour

    Many people who work in the state of Georgia are unaware of the state's laws with respect to wages. Given the current economic times, many individuals are just happy to have a job, regardless of whether or not they are receiving fair pay for the work performed. Still, any Atlanta employment attorney will tell you that it is important for people who work to know that there are certain hour and wage laws that the state must follow.

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  • EEOC Sues Georgia County For Age Discrimination

    November 25th, 2013

    | Categories: Discrimination

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently sued Fannin County, Georgia for age discrimination on the basis that the county violated the law by choosing to layoff employees who were over 60 years of age. According to the lawsuit, the Fannin County Road Department decided to reduce its workforce back in November 2011. There were 11 people chosen to be laid off, four of whom were younger than 60 years of age and seven of whom were older than 60. Subsequently, the County ended up rehiring three of the four employees who were under 60 within a few months of being laid off; however, the County did not rehire any of the employees who were older than 60.

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  • Sexual Harassment On The Job Is More Common Than You Realize

    November 18th, 2013

    | Categories: Sexual Harassment/Hostile Work Environment

    Sexual harassment in the workplace is more common than people realize, but it often goes unreported because many victims do not want to risk losing their jobs if they discuss the issue with their employers. According to a report released by the Everyday Sexism Project, both men and women are experiencing workplace harassment on a routine basis. Your Atlanta sexual harassment lawyer will tell you that oftentimes, the victims are blamed for the occurrence of sexual harassment; however, more and more companies and individuals are starting to take such claims and allegations much more seriously.

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  • Three-Judge Panel Finds US Labor Laws Apply To All Employees No Matter Their Status

    November 11th, 2013

    | Categories: Employment Law

    There has been a fair amount of buzz in the media about undocumented workers and fair wages for those individuals in recent months. Many Georgia employment lawyers have noticed that immigration reform is a topic of interest for many people, particularly the millions of immigrant workers who are part of the workforce in the United States. In fact, according to a MintPress news article, a three-judge panel decided that, regardless of an employee's legal status in the United States, all employers are required to pay those workers legal wages, along with any other monies that have been promised to such workers.

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  • What Can Happen If An Employer Falsifies Employee Timesheets?

    October 28th, 2013

    | Categories: Employment LawWage & Hour

    The falsification of timesheets in the workplace is a very serious offense under the law. When some people hear about falsifying timesheets, they immediately assume that it was the employee who was doing the falsifying. However, a Georgia employment attorney can tell you that it is not only an offense that is committed by employees--employers are often guilty of the violation as well.

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  • Sexual Harassment: Negligent Hiring, Retention and Supervision Claims

    October 21st, 2013

    | Categories: Employment LawSexual Harassment/Hostile Work Environment

    Whenever an individual is sexually harassed in the workplace, he or she might wonder about the best way to handle the situation. Sexual harassment is a problem not only for women, but for men as well. Thousands of charges related to sexual harassment are filed by both genders with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on a yearly basis. But what many victims of harassment don't know is that there may be instances in which their employers can be held legally responsible for the harassment.

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  • Retaliation Claims Under the False Claims Act

    September 18th, 2013

    | Categories: Employment LawRetaliation

    Many individuals who have jobs are reluctant to report their employers' wrongdoing or fraudulent activity because they fear that they might lose their job or suffer some other sort of adverse action. However, individuals should be aware that as employees, they enjoy certain protections against retaliation after engaging in protected activity under the False Claims Act.

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  • Are Employees Entitled to Payment for On-Call Time?

    September 11th, 2013

    | Categories: Employment Law

    One of the most common questions in wage and hour cases is whether employees must be paid for “on-call” time . As business needs increase and customers demand more service at any given time of the day or night, many employers have found it necessary to have some of their employees remain "on-call" for  a certain period of time or even 24-hours a day. 

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  • EEOC Finds No Age Discrimination In Not Hiring 71-Year-Old Applicant For Investigator Position

    August 27th, 2013

    | Categories: Employment LawDiscrimination

    Individuals are turned down for jobs for a variety of reasons. Some job applicants are simply unqualified for the position sought, while others are over-qualified. However, there are occasions when job applicants are turned away for discriminatory reasons, such as race or age. Accordingly, it is important for business owners to work with a Georgia employment attorney to ensure that their policies and hiring practices are legal and nondiscriminatory in every way. 

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  • A Brief Look At The Family And Medical Leave Act

    August 20th, 2013

    | Categories: Employment Law

    Many working individuals become very concerned when they suffer serious health issues, often because they might not have enough leave to cover the necessary time off to take care of their illnesses. However, as your Atlanta employment lawyer will tell you, whenever an employee becomes seriously ill, he or she may have options available under the Family Medical Leave Act.

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  • Georgia Court of Appeals Rules Law Clerks Owed Millions in Fulton County Discrimination Suit: A Report From Your Georgia Employment Lawyers

    July 26th, 2013

    | Categories: Discrimination

    According to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of 23 law clerks who had filed a wage discrimination lawsuit against Fulton County. The Court’s ruling affirmed an arbitration ruling that awarded the law clerks at least $4.3 million in back pay. A Superior Court already had affirmed the arbitration ruling on appeal, and Fulton County sought review of the ruling by the Georgia Court of Appeals, claiming that the award of back pay was barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. 

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  • U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Employer in Employment Discrimination Case

    July 22nd, 2013

    | Categories: Discrimination

    In a five-to-four decision, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that retaliation claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which governs discrimination in employment, are held to a stricter standard of proof than other types of discrimination claims. In University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, the Court very strictly interpreted a statute that was enacted in order to overrule a prior Supreme Court decision. 

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  • EEOC Reports Huge Increase in Age Discrimination Claims

    June 28th, 2013

    | Categories: Discrimination

    Age discrimination complaints are on the rise as the average age of American workers continues to increase, and Americans continue to work longer before retiring. In fact, a recent Forbes article notes that according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the number of age-related complaints in recent years has skyrocketed. From 1997 and 2007 there were between 16,000 and 19,000 annual age discrimination complaints filed with the EEOC.

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  • EEOC Issues Revised Guidance on Employment Rights of Certain Disabled People

    June 26th, 2013

    | Categories: Discrimination

    According to a recent press release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there are now publications available that specifically address the employment rights of people with some specific disabilities, including diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities.

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  • The Working Families Flexibility Act and How It Will Affect You: A Report From Your Atlanta Employment Attorney

    May 30th, 2013

    | Categories: Employment Law

    The Working Families Flexibility Act is a piece of federal legislation that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 8. The Act would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), and would give private sector workers the same type of “comp time” options that are available for public sector workers. Introduced by Republican U.S. Representative Martha Roby of Alabama, the bill passed with the support of many members of Congress, as well as the U.S.

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  • Fulton County Hit With $1.18 Million Judgment in Discrimination Case

    May 22nd, 2013

    | Categories: Discrimination

    WSBTV is reporting that a federal judge has awarded an Atlanta man $1.18 million as a result of his discrimination lawsuit against Fulton County. In 2012, a jury awarded Doug Carl, a former employee of the Fulton County Department of Human Services ("DHS"), $300,000 for back pay that he would have received had the county not discriminated against him.

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  • Wage and Hour Lawsuits Increase in 2012: A Report by Your Atlanta Employment Lawyers

    May 14th, 2013

    | Categories: Wage & Hour

    The National Economic Research Associates ("NERA") recently released a report indicating that wage and hour lawsuits and settlements have increased in 2012 across the United States. According to NERA’s report on LawyersandSettlements.com, employers paid, on average, 18% more to settle wage and hour disputes in 2012 than they did in 2011.

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  • Most Women Still Feel Discrimination in the Workplace: Your Atlanta Employment Lawyer Reports

    May 6th, 2013

    | Categories: Discrimination

    Although many things have changed in American society over the past 15 years, views on gender inequality in the workplace haven't seemed to change too significantly. According to moneytalksnews.com, a poll of 1,000 conducted this April by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found that little had changed since a similar poll was conducted over 15 years ago in 1997.

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  • Age Discrimination Laws and How They Affect You

    April 30th, 2013

    | Categories: Discrimination

    According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), age discrimination occurs when an employee or an applicant for employment is treated less favorably due to his or her age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) is the federal law that governs age discrimination in the United States. However, the Atlanta employment attorneys at Mays and Kerr, LLC warn that the ADEA protects only those individuals who are age 40 or older from employment discrimination. As many workers have experienced, age discrimination can happen at any level and any age.

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  • 11th Circuit Rules in Favor of Employee Asserting Equal Pay Act Violation Claim: An Update from Your Georgia Employment Attorney

    April 24th, 2013

    | Categories: Equal Pay Act Violations

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit recently reversed a district court ruling in the case of Edwards v. Fulton County, Georgia, et al., finding that Edwards had a valid claim under the Equal Pay Act, Atlanta employment attorneys report.

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  • Sequestration Cuts Short Federal Extended Unemployment Benefits

    April 16th, 2013

    | Categories: Employment Law

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that the current federal government sequestration will begin adversely affecting federal extended unemployment benefits for unemployed workers in Georgia and across the United States. Regular state unemployment benefits will not be affected by the sequestration, but extended benefits funded by the federal government will be cut by 10.7%. Due to the financial impact that this cut may have, the Atlanta employment lawyers at Mays and Kerr, LLC want to ensure that you are aware of this potential decrease in unemployment benefits before it begins to affect you and your family.

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  • Clearwater Paper to Lay Off 150 Thomaston Workers

    March 25th, 2013

    | Categories: Employment Law

    According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Clearwater Paper Corp. has announced its plans to close a Thomaston tissue converting and distribution facility, a move which will affect approximately 150 workers, Georgia employment lawyers report. The Thomaston plant is located in Upson County, about an hour and a half south of Atlanta.

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  • Salary Issues: The Professional Exemption under the FLSA

    January 6th, 2013

    | Categories: Minimum Wage

    Although minimum wage and overtime pay regulations apply to most employees in the United States, there remain certain employees that are exempt from both. Section 13(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) notes exemptions for professional, executive, administrative, and outside sales employees. Certain computer employees are also exempt under this section, as well as under Section 13(a)(17).

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  • Waiving Overtime Rights

    January 2nd, 2013

    | Categories: Unpaid Overtime

    While a 40 hour workweek is considered standard practice in the United States, many employees go above and beyond the call of duty in an effort to meet deadlines, make a positive impression, or get ahead. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are obligated to provide overtime pay for employees that work an excess of 40 hours in a workweek. This right to overtime pay cannot be waived through any announcement made by the employer or by any agreement made between the employer and employee.

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  • Safeguarding Tipped Employees

    December 17th, 2012

    | Categories: Tipped Employees

    The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) outlines a number of requirements regarding the payment of employees who regularly receive over $30 per month in tips. According to these requirements, tips are to remain property of the employee and cannot be confiscated by an employer except in cases where a tip credit or tip pool is applicable.

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  • Protecting Employees from Unlawful Retaliation

    December 13th, 2012

    | Categories: RetaliationWrongful Termination

    Since its introduction in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has served as a guardian against the unfair treatment of full and part-time employees throughout the United States. The FLSA regulates minimum wage, child labor, overtime payment, and recordkeeping for federal, state, and local governments, as well as employees in the private sector. Continuous amendments to the document ensure salary standards congruent with living expenses in the current economy.

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  • Department of Defense Security Clearance Denial Reversed

    November 28th, 2012

    | Categories: Employment Law

    November began on a high note for Mays & Kerr with the successful appeal of a security clearance denial. The client, a government contractor based in Washington, DC, was initially denied an industrial security clearance by the Department of Defense (DoD). The Statement of Reasons (SOR) issued by the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) in April cited financial considerations as grounds for revocation of security clearance by the DoD.

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  • Overtime and the Fluctuating Workweek

    July 18th, 2012

    | Categories: Flex PayUnpaid Overtime

    Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime at a rate of one and one-half times their regular hourly rate for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.  However, it is possible for a nonexempt employee to be paid on a “salary” basis, in which case the employee may receive only one-half times the regular rate for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.  This method is called the “fluctuating workweek” (or “flex-pay”) method of calculating overtime (though sometimes it is unfortunately referred to as “Chinese Overtime”).  The premise of flex-pay is fairly straightforward: because a nonexempt employee received a salary as compensation for all hours worked, the employee has already been paid all wages at the regular rate for all hours worked, including hours worked over 40.  Accordingly, only the additional half-time overtime rate is owed for hours worked over 40.  Flex-pay gets its name(s) because, when an employee is paid on a salary basis, the regular rate will fluctuate based on the number of hours worked.  Notably, the more hours an employee works, the lower the regular rate (and the overtime rate) will go.  Consider the following examples:

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  • Individual Liability for Violations of the Minimum Wage and Overtime Laws

    June 18th, 2012

    | Categories: Employment Law

    Business owners are well-advised to organize their businesses using one of the legal forms that provides for limited liability protection.  These forms include the Limited Liability Company (“LLC”) , the Limited Liability Partnership (“LLP”), and the Corporation.  The advantage of incorporating a business in this manner is that the owners and officers will generally be protected from liability if the business is sued.  For example, if a customer slips and falls in the premises of a business set up as a LLC, then, in most cases, the owner will not be responsible for having to pay a judgment out of personal funds.

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  • Mays & Kerr Wins Appeal at 11th Circuit

    On Tuesday, June 5, 2012, Mays & Kerr scored a decisive victory for Seven Oaks Academy of Lilburn, Georgia, successfully defending the small daycare against a former employee's appeal of the District Court's Order dismissing her lawsuit.  The plaintiff's claims, which grew out of allegations of religious discrimination, included religious harassment, hostile work environment, civil conspiracy, and negligent hiring and retention, and sought the statutory maximums in compensatory and punitive damages.

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  • Salaried employees don't get overtime, right?

    June 12th, 2012

    | Categories: Unpaid Overtime

    It is a common misconception among employers that simply paying a salary avoids the burden of paying overtime wages.  Failing to properly classify salaried employees can have devastating consequences, including liability for unpaid overtime wages for highly compensated employees who routinely work well over 40 hours per week.

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  • The FLSA's Administrative Exemption

    March 23rd, 2012

    | Categories: Employment Law

    Employees classified as “bona fide” administrative employees are exempt from both the overtime and minimum wage requirements of the federal wage and hour laws (the FLSA).  The three basic requirements for meeting the administrative exemption are (1) the employee is compensated on a salary or fee basis at a rate not less than $455 per week, (2) that the employee’s primary job duty is performing office or non-manual work related to the management or general business operations of the employer, and (3) that the employee’s primary job duty includes “the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.”   Unpacking the meaning of the third requirement is the key to determining whether an employee is exempt as an administrative employee.

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  • De Minimis Doctrine

    March 10th, 2012

    | Categories: Portal-To-Portal Act

    In 1947, Congress passed the Portal-to-Portal Act, which amended the FLSA, to protect employers from lawsuits based on time spent traveling to and from work.  Under the Act, activities before and after the workday were non-compensable.  However, there are still some "preliminary" and "postliminary" activities for which employees must be compensated, such as activities that are "integral and indispensable" in the production of the work.

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  • Guide to Exemptions Under the FLSA

    January 4th, 2012

    | Categories: Minimum Wage

    The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is one of the key protections for American workers.  It sets a price‑floor by means of the minimum wage, and it reduces the hours that Americans are required to work by requiring overtime pay for hours above forty per week.  However, when the law was drafted in the 1930s, Congress realized that certain jobs either required extremely long hours or were traditionally compensated in unique ways.  For example, sailors generally are on-call or working 24 hours a day when they are at sea, and Congress decided that requiring overtime pay for these employees would threaten an important part of the American economy.  For different reasons, Congress exempted “outside” salespeople from the FLSA because such employees spend a lot of time travelling and they are generally paid on a commission basis.  According to Congress, it didn’t make sense to require that these employees be paid overtime.  Alongside these examples, the drafters of the FLSA included various other exemptions that made sense from an economic standpoint.

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  • "Employees" and "Independent Contractors" Under the FLSA

    December 24th, 2011

    | Categories: Minimum Wage

    The FLSA is a broadly remedial statute that was designed with the dual goals of raising wages for the economically vulnerable while at the same time increasing employment.  To accomplish these goals, the FLSA renders illegal any employment contract involving wages that are lower than the minimum wage or for wages that do not include overtime payments for hours worked above forty per week.  As a result, some employers are tempted to work around the FLSA by maintaining that their workers are actually “independent contractors.”  While it is true that the FLSA does not apply to bona fide independent contractors, most employers who attempt the "independent contractor" strategy do so at their own peril.  This is so because the concept of “employment” under the FLSA is astonishingly broad, and a worker could be an “employee” under the FLSA who would be considered an “independent contractor” under the common law or other federal statutes.

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  • Damage Control

    October 11th, 2011

    | Categories: Discrimination

    When employees initiate lawsuits after separating from employment, they must typically meet certain burdens if they seek money damages, including a demonstration that they mitigated, or limited, their damages by pursuing a diligent job search.  While this "duty to mitigate" damages is used routinely to limit back pay awards in discrimination cases, the defense seems to have a slightly different character in FLSA cases.  In fact, courts appear to be divided as to what it actually means in FLSA litigation (and whether it applies at all).  Some FLSA claims arise in cases of retaliatory termination for engaging in protected activities like demanding unpaid wages.  This is analogous to both discriminatory discharge and retaliation for engaging in activities protected by discrimination laws.  However, FLSA cases also present when employees have lost earnings but remain employed, and this scenario complicates the arguments for a reduction of back pay awards in FLSA suits under the theory of the plaintiff's duty to mitigate.

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  • Defamation and Slander

    May 19th, 2011

    | Categories: Wrongful Termination

    Once terminated, former employees are often surprised to hear the employer's reasons for termination.  In many cases, former employees feel that the reason given for termination is unfair, deceptive, or simply a lie.  To make things worse, employers don't always provide a clear reason at the time of the firing.  Sometimes the employee hears the reason for the first time when applying for unemployment benefits.  Sometimes they may not hear the reason until they apply for a new job and the prospective employer checks their references.  However, this does not mean that the reason given is defamation or slander.

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  • "Enterprise Coverage" Under the FLSA

    May 10th, 2011

    | Categories: Discrimination

    Many of the federal employment laws have confusing coverage limits that seem to exempt certain employers from the need to comply with them.  For instance, if an employer has fewer than fifteen employees, then it cannot be liable for employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Nevertheless, a small employer exempt from Title VII can still be sued for race discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981, which does not contain a “numerosity” requirement, so Title VII’s exemption is misleading.

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  • Workers' Compensation

    May 3rd, 2011

    | Categories: Employment Law

    For those interested in Workers' Compensation, check out atlantaworkerscompblog.com.  Attorney Seth Bader has put together a blog for everyone from claimants to their attorneys, and I'm sure defense counsel could learn something too.  Among other useful resources, the blog has a comprehensive list of forms published by the State Board of Workers' Compensation, as well as some interesting posts answering common questions and recent news.

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  • Standing to Sue

    April 29th, 2011

    | Categories: Environmental Law

    The issue of "standing" is omnipresent in environmental law, and it often determines the outcome of cases--or, perhaps more accurately, whether the plaintiff will even be able to bring a case.  The concept of standing basically says that only a person who has been injured in some way should be able to bring a lawsuit to enforce her rights.  This is simple to apply in simple situations, such as car accidents or assaults, but it gets complicated in environmental law, where the injuries are less concrete and are harder to trace to their source.  (Hint: the words "concrete" and "traceable" are going to be thrown around a lot when you're talking about standing).

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  • Employment Law Dictionary

    March 3rd, 2011

    | Categories: RetaliationWrongful TerminationDiscrimination

    Discrimination, wrongful termination, hostile work environment, retaliation.  These are words that I often hear during an initial client interview.  While these concepts are relevant to employment law matters, they are often misunderstood by employees and employers alike.

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