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The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Portal-to- Portal Act

It is stated under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the the maximum time of work an employer can require form his/her employees is eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. Anything beyond this number of hours would already be treated as overtime work. These daily/weekly hours of work stipulated by the FLSA is to make sure that employees will have enough
time for rest and ample time with their families. Any increase in the daily/weekly number of working hours may render an employees exhausted every day and, therefore, not very inclined to work the following workday.

The Fair Labor Standards Act is a U.S. Federal law that was passed in 1938. It defines the legal daily and weekly number of working hours, the national minimum wage, and the computation of overtime pay, among others. Another law that touches on overtime pay is the Portal-to- Portal Act, which was passed in 1947.

This Portal-to- Portal Act is actually a modification to the Fair Labor Standards Act; is was then intended to make clear various issues regarding pre-work and post-work activities. Both the FLSA and Portal-to- Portal Act do not consider pre and post work activities as overtime work, unless activities performed during these times are directly connected to one’s type of work and performed either in the workplace or anywhere else, so long as it is upon the instructions of the company manager and for the benefit of the company (such as delivery of goods).

Not all employees are allowed to render overtime work, though. Only those who are non-exempt are considered eligible to render overtime work and, so, receive overtime pay. Workers who are exempt, or not eligible to render overtime (as well exempt from receiving the minimum wage, as their wages can definitely be higher) include administrative, executive, professional employees, outside sales employees, certain skilled computer professionals, employees employed in certain recreational or seasonal establishments, switchboard operators of small telephone companies, seamen in foreign vessels, those engaged in fishing operations, farm workers working in small farms, those employed as companions to the infirm or elderly and casual babysitters.

No law is intended to limit any business firm’s operations aimed at earning profits. Strictly observing the mandate of all employment laws will only result to satisfied employees and, thus, (probably) zero discrimination or unfair labor practice lawsuits. As explained by the Leichter Law Firm, however, employers often do not pay workers overtime even if they are entitled to it. This is illegal and employers who act with such disregard for the FLSA hurt their workers by withholding money that they have earned. Violation of the overtime law can result to lawsuits against guilty employers who may be required by the law not only to pay overtime work rendered by complaining employees, but also to compensate them for the troubles and damages they have been made to suffer.

Sexual Discrimination and the Laws that Protect Employees against It

The early part of the 20th century and onwards was a turnaround in the business sector as this was the time when the US government started enacting and implementing laws that would protect the rights and interests of employees all across the United States. Laws against workplace discrimination that would ensure equal opportunity to all employees, as well as laws that would assure just wages and provision of financial assistance in the event of injuries or illnesses that are work-related are the targets of these laws.

The website of Cary Kane LLP, is right in saying that no employee can be unjustly terminated from work or unjustly treated, whether by his/her employer, manager or co-workers; anyone who believes that he/she is a victim of unfair and unlawful workplace practices can seek protection from the law to bring the perpetrator to justice and seek compensation for whatever damage and/or harm such injustice may have caused him/her.

Laws that prohibit workplace discrimination due to a person’s nationality, color, race, religion, age, genetic information, disability and sex, are enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This agency of the federal government that is tasked to enforce anti-workplace discrimination laws also prohibits an employer or co-employee from resorting to retaliatory acts due to an individual’s decision to report, participate in, and/or oppose discriminatory practices in the workplace.

One illegal practice in the workplace that has earned the attention of the EEOC is sexual harassment. There are different Acts/laws that specifically address this concern; one of these is the Equal Pay Act (EPA), which says that male or female employees who perform equal work, so long as this work requires the same skills, responsibilities and efforts, and is done in the same workplace, ought to receive the same compensation. This law was enacted in 1963.

Another is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which was enacted in 1964, the law that strictly illegalizes any discriminatory and retaliatory acts against any employee; this includes discrimination based on an employee’s gender. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has had a few amendments; two of these are worth mentioning due to their connection to sexual harassment. One amendment, made in 2011, included sex discrimination as being committed through acts of “sex-stereotyping” made against gays, lesbians and bisexuals. The other, which was made in 2012, extended the law’s protection to cover gender identity and transgender status. Even pregnant women are protected against workplace and sexual discrimination. This protection is provided by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

These laws, with the others, are meant to establish good relationship, order, fairness and equality in all workplaces. Employees who feel that they have been discriminated in any way can file a complaint against the guilty individual who, by the way, may also be one of their company’s clients.

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