Practice Areas

Atlanta Attorneys Skilled in Employment Law Matters

Mays and Kerr, LLC is comprised of Atlanta employment law lawyers who advise both workers and businesses. Employment laws are complicated, and failing to abide by them may have a substantial impact on your personal or business finances. Therefore, it is important to consult an experienced attorney about potential issues that may develop or disputes that are underway.

Employment Law

It may be very disruptive to a business when an employee files a complaint or takes other legal action due to an alleged violation of an employment law. The attorneys at Mays & Kerr can serve as general corporate counsel, advising small businesses on compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act, federal and state anti-discrimination laws such as Title VII, business development, and employment contracts and handbooks. We can also provide advice to employees who are concerned about their obligations under an employment handbook or a noncompetition agreement.

One of the basic requirements for a noncompetition agreement to be enforceable in Georgia is that the agreement must be based on valuable consideration. This requirement is satisfied if the noncompetition agreement is part of the initial employment contract because the offer of employment is deemed to be valuable consideration. Another requirement is that only certain categories of employees may be restricted in their post-termination work, including sales employees, professionals or key employees, management employees, and employees who regularly solicit customers for their employers. By statute, the types of activities and geographic area specified in the agreement may not be overbroad.

Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, certain employees are provided up to 12 work weeks of unpaid protected leave each year for certain family and medical reasons. These reasons include caring for a newborn, the birth of a child, placement with the employee of an adopted or foster child, serious health conditions that render an employee unable to work, and care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition. During the leave, group health benefits must be maintained, just as if an employee worked during that period.

Wage and Hour Law

Employees are entitled to appropriate, timely compensation for the work they perform for their employers. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state laws cover wage and hour law. Some common wage and hour violations include a failure to pay wages, a failure to pay minimum wage, a failure to pay overtime, and misclassification.

How an employee is classified affects the protections to which he or she is entitled by law. Not all employers appropriately classify their employees. Some employers misclassify employees as exempt or independent contractors in order to avoid abiding by the FLSA and other laws, or employers may assume that an employee's job title determines whether the employee is exempt or an independent contractor. These employers may be subject to significant penalties in a wage and hour lawsuit.

Under the FLSA, certain employees are exempt, including salaried employees, administrative employees, professional employees, and executive employees. Our attorneys can help employers determine the appropriate classification for an employee or assist employees with their wage and hour claims.

Georgia Employment Litigation

Our attorneys are experienced and aggressive employment litigators who prepare effectively for the purposes of both settlement negotiations and trial. We handle a wide range of lawsuits for both employers and employees, including claims arising from wrongful termination, sexual harassment, unpaid commissions, hostile work environment, reasonable accommodations, and severance package negotiations.

Federal anti-discrimination laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and religion, among other characteristics. Sexual harassment is one type of discrimination that is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other laws. Harassment under Title VII may include offensive comments and jokes, unwelcome sexual advances, or repeated requests for a date or sexual favors. These types of actions are unlawful when they are either so frequent that they result in a hostile work environment or when they result in termination, loss of pay, or another adverse event for the employee.

Georgia is an at-will employment state, which means an employee may be terminated for any reason as long as that reason is not illegal or in violation of public policy. An employee may sue an employer for damages based on wrongful termination. Some illegal reasons to fire a worker include retaliation for engaging in a protected activity (such as participating in an investigation of discrimination), taking protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, or another reason as specified in the employee's contract. In some cases, an employment contract prohibits the firing of an employee except under certain conditions or promises certain forms of job security, and if an employer violates that contract, it may be subject to a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Contact an Employment Law Lawyer in the Atlanta Area

Whether you are an employer or an employee in Georgia, you are likely to encounter disputes in the workplace. The cost and disruption of these disputes may be minimized by consulting an experienced Atlanta employment law attorney before they arise, or at the start of litigation. At Mays & Kerr, we also represent clients in Alpharetta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Decatur, Cumming, Brunswick, Duluth, and other cities throughout Fulton, DeKalb, Forsyth, Glynn, and Gwinnett Counties. Call us at (877) 986-5529 or complete our online form to set up a free consultation with a wage and hour or employment discrimination lawyer.