As the economy struggles to recover, hourly wage employees are facing unprecedented hardships.
Many have lost their jobs or have had their hours reduced, making it difficult to make ends meet. Even those still employed often struggle to afford basic necessities like food and housing.
In this challenging time, it is more important than ever for hourly wage employees to ensure they are being paid fairly.
Unfortunately, many employers are taking advantage of the current situation by shortchanging their employees on pay and overtime. By not receiving the wages they are legally entitled to, employees are being forced to bear an unfair burden.
Hourly wage employees must check to make sure they are being paid fairly and, if they suspect any violations, to seek legal representation.
Keep your employer from taking advantage of you during these tough times, take action and protect your rights as an employee.
If your employer is subject to the FLSA and you feel they are violating your rights, you might have a legal claim to investigate.
We have investigated and pursued FLSA claims for several years. Often these cases involve many co-employees as the employer’s pay policies typically affect most others in similar, non-management positions.
Put us to work for you. We have the knowledge and skills to stand up to the largest corporations.
Wage & hours regulations in Alabama
The first thing to note about wage and hour regulations in Alabama is that this state does not establish some significant areas of this area of law.
Therefore, many federal laws override this void and apply in Alabama. These are mainly minimum wage and overtime laws.
Minimum wage and overtime
Alabama has not established either a minimum wage rate or any laws governing overtime payment. Thus, the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 and federal overtime laws apply.
Alabama law does establish strict rules for employers employing minors, allowing for jury duty leave time and voting leave time.
For example, the law requires Alabama employers to allow for at least a 30-minute meal/rest period for employees under the age of 16 who are scheduled to work five or more hours. Ala. Code § 25-8-38 (1975).
However, once an employee is above the age of 16, Alabama laws defer to federal rules regarding breaks and meal times.
Paid and unpaid leave
Alabama laws require employees to provide for paid or unpaid leave during certain circumstances. Alabama specifically requires employers to grant employees at least one hour of unpaid leave to vote in any election. Ala. Code § 17-1-5. Also, employers are required to provide paid leave to employees that will serve jury duty. Ala. Code § 12-16-8 (1975).
When Alabama and federal laws are silent on an issue between an employer and employee, the employment contract is allowed to be the binding agreement on these issues.
Areas of wage and hour law such as sick leave, vacation leave, and severance pay are all left up to the contract between the employee and the employer.
Some aspects of these laws, such as Alabama requiring employers to pay accrued vacation days upon separation from employment, are required under Alabama law; however, only once the employment contract provides for such compensation are those laws triggered.
Understanding the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and Federal, State, and local US governments.
Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek.
Who is covered by the FLSA?
Most employees in the United States are covered by the FLSA, including those who work for federal, state, and local governments, as well as private sector employees.
What is the current federal minimum wage under the FLSA?
As of 2021, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
Is there a difference between the minimum wage for regular employees and tipped employees?
Yes, the FLSA allows for a lower minimum wage for employees who receive tips, such as servers and bartenders. As of 2021, the federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour.
Does the FLSA require employers to pay overtime to employees?
Yes, the FLSA requires that employers pay overtime to non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours per week.
The overtime pay rate is 1.5 times the employee’s regular pay rate.
Are there any exceptions to the overtime pay requirement under the FLSA?
Yes, certain types of employees, such as executives, administrative employees, and professional employees, are exempt from the overtime pay requirement.
Can an employee file a complaint if they believe their employer is not complying with the FLSA?
Yes, an employee can file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor if they believe their employer is not paying them the minimum wage or overtime pay required by the FLSA.
What happens if an employer is found to be in violation of the FLSA?
If an employer violates the FLSA, they may be required to pay back wages to the affected employees and may be subject to penalties and fines.
Can an employee sue their employer for FLSA violations?
Yes, an employee can sue their employer for FLSA violations in federal court. The employee may be able to recover back wages and other damages, such as attorney’s fees.
Can an employer fire an employee for filing a complaint or lawsuit under the FLSA?
No, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a complaint or lawsuit under the FLSA. If an employee is fired or otherwise punished for asserting their rights under the FLSA, they may have a separate claim for retaliation.
Can an employee waive their rights under the FLSA?
No, employees’ rights established under the FLSA are non-waivable. Employers cannot require employees to sign agreements waiving their rights under the FLSA.
Securing Your Rights
What our Alabama wage and hour attorneys can do for you
We will guide you every step of the way through your FLSA claims including:
- Advise you on your rights under the FLSA and other wage and hour laws
- Evaluate the strength of your case and identify potential violations by your employer
- Assist you in filing complaints with the Department of Labor or lawsuits in court
- Advise you on the best course of action to take if you are facing retaliation from your employer for asserting your rights under the FLSA.
- Represent you in negotiations and settlement discussions with your employer
- Advise you on the potential outcome of your case and the likelihood of success
- Assist you in collecting back wages and other damages if your case is successful
- Represent you in appeals of FLSA cases if your case is not successful in the first instance