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Pittsburgh Employment Law Blog

Know the contents of the Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a group of regulations that govern how employers treat employees. The ones related to pay are often cited, so it is imperative that employers know what's contained in the FLSA. This enables them to take the necessary steps to reduce the chance that they will face litigation for violations.

It is imperative that you keep accurate records for employee hours. The hours they work per week can determine how much they should make per hour. One provision in the FLSA is that employees who work more than 40 hours per workweek are supposed to receive 1.5 times their normal salary for every hour over that amount. The FLSA also covers situations involving tips and host of other pay related issues.

Documented employment actions help in the event of litigation

One of the most dreaded duties of management is having to terminate an employee, but this isn't always something that you can avoid. When the time comes to handle this duty, make sure that you have everything in order to make sure that the company doesn't face litigation because of the termination. If your company does face a claim, being able to combat it becomes the priority.

A former employee might claim wrongful termination even when they were let go for a valid cause. In fact, Pennsylvania is a right to work state, which means that employers can terminate employees without reason. This might put your fears to rest about wrongful termination, but there is still a fine line that you can't cross.

Establish policies to help protect your company from litigation

As an employer, you have specific duties that you must meet. When you do this, your employees know that they are valued and that they can count on you to treat them fairly. By meeting your duties, you reduce the risk of litigation in the future. We know that this might seem like a big task, but breaking it down into different sections can make it much easier.

One way that you can make this a bit less challenging is to delegate duties for your business. Make sure that you have someone who is watching payroll and someone who is handling other personnel matters, including complaints of discrimination or harassment. You also need to have someone who knows about labor laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FLMA).

Hourly workers count on protections of labor laws

The Fair Labor Standards Act is meant to protect employees, so it is imperative that any employer that has employees who qualify for these protections ensures that the terms are complied with. The FLSA covers pay for these employees, which is a common source of contention with some individuals. Understanding what you are required to pay them is imperative, so you are able handle payroll properly and minimize the chance of litigation in the future.

Hourly employees must be paid for all the time they work. If they work more than 40 hours per pay week, they should receive overtime pay. When these employees don't get the amount in their check that they were expecting, they may come to the human resources personnel to find out why. It is possible that mistakes will occur sometimes, but the company must rectify them immediately.

Companies must not accept retaliation after employee complaints

When an employee files a complaint against your company, your first thought might be to protect your business by removing that person. You can't do this because it is considered retaliation to fire someone simply because they filed a complaint against your company.

Retaliation is a serious problem because it is illegal. Termination isn't the only employment action that falls under this category. Putting the person on a less desirable shift, moving them to an undesirable location, dropping their pay, demoting them or cutting their hours are also considered retaliation.

Preventing many common employment issues from occurring

Employment disputes are often complicated undertakings. Companies likely want to ensure their most valuable assets, their employees, are taken care of. But, they also need to think about the good of the business. Finding that balance is often difficult, so the administrators and owners need to work with someone who is familiar with employment litigation defense.

Companies can work toward preventing these issues from occurring in the first place. One of the best options they have is to set guidelines up that ensure legal compliance with all applicable laws. Sometimes, having a reporting or complaint program for employees can help with this matter.

Stop employee theft quickly, but plan your actions carefully

Employers have to prevent employee theft. This is a serious problem that is easy to overlook if you aren't aware of the signs. Around 75% of employees admit that they have stolen from an employer at least one time, and 38% admit that they have done it at least two times.

Some of the signs of employee theft might be obvious. These include things like missing petty cash or supplies. In some cases, the theft comes in the form of padded paychecks or invoices paid to phantom entities.

Fair Labor Standards Act: Exempt versus nonexempt employees

The Fair Labor Standards Act is a general labor law that covers almost all workers in this country. It is imperative that all employers understand the provisions in this act so that they don't run afoul of it.

One of the first things to know is that there are two classifications of workers – exempt and nonexempt. The exempt workers are the ones who can't count on overtime and minimum wage requirements. These individuals are almost always salaried and must complete job duties without regard to how long it takes them. Exempt workers don't have to record their hours worked for the purpose of receiving their pay.

Set the tone for your company with a handbook

Many things can lead to an employer facing litigation. One option that you have to combat some of these is to have the rules and guidelines for the company spelled out clearly in a handbook. This gives employees a look at what's allowed and what isn't. From there, you can fine tune the specifics of the handbook so that it meets the needs of all employees.

By creating an employee handbook, you are setting expectations for them. You are letting them know that you mean business. Interestingly, only around 87% of small businesses that have from 10 to 200 employees have a handbook established.

Reasonable accommodations in the workplace

Employers have to walk a fine line between ensuring that their employees have what they need to get the job done and protecting the bottom line. When workers have disabilities, the company will have to determine what reasonable accommodations it needs to make for the person. This is sometimes a complicated matter because there isn't a list of required accommodations.

In the simplest terms, a reasonable accommodation is something that the employer can provide to a person so they can perform essential job duties. The challenge with determining this is that the company's finances and other factors come into the picture to decide what is reasonable.

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