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FLSA, Schaumburg employment law attorneyThe Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 is a United States labor law that gives workers the right to a minimum wage, as well as overtime pay when employees work more than 40 hours a week. It also prohibits employment of minors in “oppressive child labor.” When a company violates any of the FLSA regulations, employees can file a lawsuit against their employer. These violations can include wage and hour violations, such as unpaid overtime and wages that fall below minimum wage.

Even when business owners unintentionally violate the terms of FLSA, it is important they understand how to prepare for litigation to maintain their company’s good standing. If you are an Illinois business owner who is facing such allegations, an experienced attorney can help protect your business.

FLSA Infractions

In many companies, the human resources (HR) department or person is responsible for making sure management is adhering to FLSA rules. In some cases, owners or managers may not even realize that what they are or are not doing is considered a violation. In other instances, it could result from a misunderstanding or miscommunication between a supervisor and an employee.  A few examples of the most common types of FLSA violations include:

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Illinois employment lawyerAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently an estimated 16.6 million retail workers over the age of 16 in the United States. Jobs in the retail industry are popular among younger Americans such as high school and college students because of the flexible hours and minimum education requirements. Retail establishments can include gas stations, restaurants, department stores, and much more. Retail employees are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as long as the establishment has an annual sales volume of at least $500,000, or if employees are engaged in interstate commerce activities.

As an employer, it is important that you avoid FLSA violations to achieve full compliance.

Hours Worked Violations

Employers are required by law to pay for all hours worked by employees. Sometimes retail establishments will only allow workers to be “on the clock” if there is a need for them. If they are scheduled to work, but there is no demand for more staff, the employee will often be told they are not needed. Unless an employer immediately informs an employee of this, fully relieves them of duty, and gives them a specific time to check in, the time between their scheduled shift and the check-in time does not have to be counted as work time. If the employee is not given a specific time that is long enough to use for their own benefit, all of the waiting time should be counted as hours worked.

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Illinois employment law attorneysState and federal laws require that most employers have anti-sexual harassment and anti-discrimination policies in place. Even when not required by law, it is a good idea to have these policies. They can create the sense of a safe work environment, and they can also help ensure compliance with state and federal harassment and discrimination laws. Learn how to develop an anti-discrimination policy for your small business, and where you can find assistance with help from the following information.

Anti-Discrimination Policies

An anti-discrimination policy is meant to communicate the employer’s obligations to the employee. These policies typically include verbiage that lets employees and potential employees know that decisions regarding employment offers, raises, and promotions are not made based on an employee’s gender, religion, marital status, national origin, or sexual orientation. Keep in mind that each state has its own requirements regarding anti-discrimination language. An experienced business law attorney can help you develop your anti-discrimination policy to ensure proper compliance with both state and federal laws.

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tips, Schaumburg employment law attorneyA decision in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals extended an existing U.S. Department of Labor rule regarding tip-pooling to establishments in which tipped employees already make minimum wage. How employers handle tips intended for bartenders and waitstaff has long been a source of contention, as gratuities often represent a significant portion of such employees’ income. While Illinois is not technically under the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, the ruling will still likely have implications as case law precedent.

FLSA Regulations on Tip Credits

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) permits employers to count tips to certain employees as a portion of those employees’ wages, helping to fulfill the employers’ obligations of paying minimum wage. The FLSA still requires an employer to pay tipped employees at $2.13 per hour, with the expectation that tips will comprise at least $5.12 per hour in addition. In Illinois, employers must pay tipped employees $4.95 per hour, and tips must bring the employees’ compensation to at least $8.50 per hour, the state minimum wage.

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nursing mother, FLSA, Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, Fair Labor Standards ActWhen the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, it amended a portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to accommodate nursing mothers who return to work after the birth of their child. Failure to follow these new rules could result in serious small business employment litigation in Illinois and across the country.

Under the amended Section 7(r) of the FLSA, employers must provide a reasonable break time for nursing mothers to express their breast milk for up to a full year after their child's birth. The employee must be allowed to take these breaks every time they have the need to express their milk. Employees do not have to be compensated for these breaks, unless they fall during the employees' regular compensated break period. This requirement applies to all employers, though businesses with less than 50 employees can apply for an exemption if they can prove the requirements would cause undue hardship to the business. In addition to allowing for time to express the breast milk, employers must also provide a space other than the bathroom for the employee to use during this time. The space can be temporarily created or converted, or can simply be made available to the nursing mother when needed. This space must be free from co-worker intrusion and shielded from the view of both co-workers and clients. It must also be function. In general, employers will need to provide a seat for the employee and an outlet for the pump at a minimum. If you have an employee who is returning to work following childbirth and you are concerned about what will be required of your business under the law, or if you have been accused of violating any part of the FLSA, having a qualified attorney is important. Contact the experienced professionals at the Miller Law Firm, P.C. We have had experience with hundreds of Illinois FLSA cases and can help you ensure your business is protected.

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