New Statistics Show a Rise in FLSA and FMLA Employment Lawsuits
2014 saw a jump in the number of filings under both the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family Medical Leave Act. This increase is attributed to multiple factors, including increased awareness of the rights of employees who have been subjected to unlawful actions by employers.
During the 2014 calendar year, 8,086 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims were filed. This represents an increase of 19% from the number filed in 2013. Most claims filed under FLSA focus on three issues:
- Misclassification of employees. By calling regular workers “managers,” employers are able to avoid paying overtime in some cases. Other employers avoid payroll taxes and benefits by calling employees “independent contractors.”
- Uncompensated work. Employers sometimes require employees to fulfil job duties when they are not technically on the clock. Determining what actually constitutes work and whether employees should be paid for certain activities often requires the help of experienced employment lawyers.
- Overtime issues. Many employers try to avoid paying overtime. They intentionally miscalculate employee hours or otherwise refuse to compensate employees.
It is believed that claims under the FLSA have risen due to increased public attention. A series of federal and Supreme Court cases have brought the statute into the public eye, as has the ongoing debate and protest about minimum wage.
The spike in Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) filings has been even greater. In 2014, there was an increase of over 26% from the previous year. These filings have been rising drastically since 2012. The FMLA requires employers to give employees leave for family and medical reasons and preserve their job while they are gone. The Department of Labor has been working to spread knowledge of this law and broaden the instances in which it applies.
Medical leave under the FMLA is restricted to “serious health conditions,” a test that many illnesses now satisfy. Once an employee is certified under this law, they will be able to take days off as needed without discipline from their employer. Employers who discipline these protected workers open themselves up to legal liability and lawsuits.
Violations of the FMLA are often the result of employers who fail to understand the law or managers who do not receive the appropriate training.
Employees who have faced discipline while following this law can enforce their rights through a lawsuit. The labor and employment attorneys at the Atlanta firm DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin, LLC represent aggrieved employees throughout Georgia. To schedule a free telephone consultation, contact us online or call us at 470-443-0524.