Have you suffered an infringement of your rights as an employee? If so, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for damages. In Michigan, as throughout the U.S., there are federal and state laws designed to protect employees from discrimination and other violations of rights in the workplace.
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- M. Stratton
At Jay Trucks and Associates, we are prepared to help victims obtain financial compensation and other remedies for employment discrimination, harassment, wage violations or other violations of the law. We have been advocating for Michigan residents for more than 30 years.
You are invited to consult with one of our Lansing employment law attorneys at zero charge to you. During this initial meeting, we can assess your eligibility for a case and discuss your legal options.
Learn more about how we benefit employee rights claims today: (800) 762-8623
Is My Claim Valid?
To determine whether you may have a valid case over an employment rights violation, our attorneys first need to speak with you to get more details. Every case is unique, but generally speaking, you may have a valid claim against an employer if you suffered any of the following types of violations:
- Discrimination – This refers to employment decisions being made purely based on your sex (gender or orientation), race, ethnicity, age or genetics. For example, it is illegal to fire someone or not hire someone based on their race or sex.
- Unpaid wages - The failure to pay at least the current minimum wage under federal or state law, or the failure to pay one-and-a-half-times your normal wage rate for overtime hours worked.
- Sexual harassment - Unwanted sexual advances, including verbal demands for sexual favors, exposure to pornographic or obscene material, sexually charged discussions or lewd comments.
- Wrongful termination - Refers to instances where an employee was terminated for refusing to participate in an employer’s illegal activities, speaking up about known work safety violations, taking leave allowed under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or suffered a work-related injury.
- Retaliation - Includes cases where employers verbally or physically threaten, terminate or demote a worker who asserted his or her legal rights in the workplace, reported an employer’s illegal or unethical activity or served as a witness for another employee who filed a complaint against his or her employer.
- Breach of employment contract – This means the employer violated the terms of a contract with an employee.
Employment law claims are complicated, which is why we recommend you seek legal help if you think your employee rights may have been infringed.
Were your employment rights violated? Set up a FREE consultation today: (800) 762-8623
Who Is Exempt from Minimum Wage and Overtime Laws in Michigan?
Employers do not have to pay minimum hourly or overtime wages to bona fide executive, administrative or professional employees as defined under federal and state employment law:
Executive employees may be exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements if they:
- Manage a department, subdivision or an entire company
- Employ two or more regular, full-time employees
- Receive minimum pay of $684 weekly
- Are an authorized decision-maker for hiring, terminating and promoting employees
Employers may exempt administrative employees who meet executive exemption requirements:
- Non-manual office work
- Managing the employer’s day-to-day business operations or dealing with customers
- Have authority to use discretion and independent judgment in significant business matters
This includes some of the same criteria as administrative or executive exemptions, along with other requirements:
- Primary work duties require advanced knowledge with consistent discretion and judgment
- Employee possesses advance knowledge of science or other learning field
- The employee obtained his or her knowledge in an extended course of specialized study
Employers are required to apply laws that most benefit an employee in issues involving wages, such as overtime exemptions.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has a long list of other employees exempt from overtime requirements, including: Taxicab drivers, movie theater employees, Farm hands, fishing operations employees, recreational establishment workers, air carrier workers, police officers, firefighters and paramedics.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from engaging in discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
The following actions, when based solely on one of the characteristics listed in the civil rights act, are illegal:
- Firing an employee
- Refusing to offer employment
- Withholding opportunities for promotion
- Offering a reduced salary
- Modifying previously offered employment terms
- Not providing reasonable allowances for another’s disabilities or religious difference
- Denying access to employment benefits
- Using terms of discrimination in a job advertisement
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. This type of discrimination generally falls under one of two categories:
Quid pro quo
This occurs when employment decisions, such as being hired, promoted or keeping your job are based on whether you submit to sexual harassment or a demand for sexual favors. Harassment refers to many types of verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
These claims can be challenging because your attorney must prove submission to this conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a term of employment and how you respond to that unwanted behavior is your employer’s basis for offering employment or keeping you as an employee.
Hostile work environment
Refers to a work environment that is intimidating, offensive or hostile, especially when it unreasonably affects and interferes with your ability to work.
Examples of behavior that could qualify as sexual harassment might include unwanted sexual innuendo, lewd comments, physical advances or contact, sexual assault or degrading comments. If there are repeated events, it is critical to a potential claim to accurately record them to provide supporting evidence.
Age and Disability Discrimination
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is a law that states men and women must not be paid differently for a job that requires equal effort, responsibility and skill. As with any job, exceptions based on an employee’s merit, quantity or quality of production and seniority are acceptable reasons for a difference in pay.
Our Lansing employment law attorneys are prepared to discuss your employment situation in a free consultation. There is no obligation or risk for seeking legal help through our firm.
Jay Trucks and Associates can take your call 24/7: (800) 762-8623
Hourly Wage and Overtime Pay Disputes
In these disputes, employees allege an employer refused to pay an employee at least the current minimum hourly wage or overtime wages for approved overtime hours worked. Employers often try to avoid paying an employee a fair wage by misclassifying an employee as an exempt worker.
Be aware that if your employer calls you an independent contractor, but oversees your schedule and work, and provides the supplies and equipment for you to do your work, then you may be misclassified and should be considered an employee.
All non-exempt employees in the state must be paid according to Michigan’s current minimum hourly wage, even if that amount is more than the current federal minimum wage. Employees must also be paid overtime wages after working 40 hours in a single week. Michigan Compiled Laws Section 408.414a prohibits employers from averaging a worker’s hours over two weeks to avoid paying overtime. If one week you worked overtime hours, but in the subsequent week only worked 40, your employer still owes you for the overtime hours you worked that first week.
It is a good idea to discuss your circumstances with one of our trusted Lansing employment law attorneys.
Call to set up your consultation with one of our licensed attorneys: (800) 762-8623
Employment Laws That May Apply to Your Claim
There are multiple federal laws in place to protect workers while on the job and in the work environment, including:
- Fair Labor Standards Act – This law was implemented to ensure all workers in the U.S. receive at least a set minimum wage and appropriate pay for overtime hours worked.
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – This law provides eligible employees with 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for either family or medical reasons, such as the birth of a child, caring for a spouse, child or parent with a serious medical condition, or dealing with a health problem or medical disease that keeps you from being able to do your job.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Prohibits various forms of discrimination on the job.
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) – Grants military personnel the right to be reinstated to their civilian jobs when they return after serving.
- Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) – Provides the right for former employees to continue to pay for and receive group health benefits for a specified period of time following an involuntary job loss, reduced hours, or while transitioning to a different job.
- Equal Pay Act of 1963 – Mandates women and men receive equal pay for the same work, with noted exceptions.
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Under this law, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.
Our Lansing employment attorneys have extensive understanding of these laws and the protections they offer. We know how to determine if and when your rights may have been violated and what your options may be for pursuing compensation.
Submit our Case Evaluation form online.
Important Filing Steps and Deadlines
If you are a victim of discrimination or harassment at work, you should immediately report the incident according to your employer’s policy. This step is critical because it provides a documented record of violations against you that may be used as evidence if you later pursue a claim.
Michigan’s Department of Civil Rights and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are responsible for handling complaints involving discrimination or harassment. It is important that you contact an attorney quickly since you have only 180 days from the day the incident occurred to file a complaint.
You can an FLSA complaint up to two years from the date of the incident. If there are repeated violations of the law, you may receive an extra year to file your claim.
Your attorney will need to obtain additional information for your claim, the industry or job you work in, your wages and when you were paid.
Our firm is prepared to fully handle the complaint process for you. This includes gathering evidence that may help to strengthen your claim.
Damage Limits for Employment Claims
If you pursue an FLSA claim for unpaid wages, you may be able to recover some liquidated damages as well as court costs and attorney fees, in addition to any unpaid wages. Attorneys’ fees refer to the expenses incurred by your attorney to investigate, prepare and pursue your claim.
EEOC discrimination complaints may result in recovery that is not monetary. For example, you may be able to seek reinstatement to your old job. Additional financial compensation you may be eligible to pursue could include back wages not paid due to discrimination, attorney fees, costs associated with searching for a new job, benefits that were included in your job (commissions, vacation time, retirement benefits), and future lost income if reinstating you to your former employment is not possible.
Federal law places carefully defined limits on compensatory and punitive damages that may be recovered from a wage dispute claim:
- 15-100 employees: $50,000
- 101-200 employees: $100,000
- 201-500 employees: $200,000
- Over 500 employees: $300,000
Call a Lansing Employment Law Attorney for a Free Consultation
Victims of an employment rights violation, such as discrimination, sexual harassment or unpaid wages, may wonder whether they have a valid case or if they have any legal options.
At Jay Trucks and Associates, we have over 30 years of experience and are well-versed in Michigan’s employment laws. We are ready to assess whether your case has merit and if so, help you hold your employer financially accountable for infringement of your rights.
There is no risk in calling our firm. We accept these cases on contingency, which means there is no output of money upfront, and we do not get paid unless you do.
Jay Trucks and Associates. Ph: (800) 762-8623