Discrimination Litigation Lawyer

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) includes rules for child labor, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and the minimum wage for American workers. These standards help protect employees from unfair treatment from their employers. Employees who have been forced to work through unpaid breaks, were declined payment for earned overtime, or denied other wage/hourly rights, can choose to meet with an attorney, like a discrimination litigation lawyer in Washington, DC from Eric Siegel Law, for advice. Here in the article below, we have answered a few questions regarding FLSA standards, how to seek reimbursement, and why you may want to examine your employment contract before filing a lawsuit.

As an employee, do I have a right to file a lawsuit?

Employees who believe their employer has violated a rule in the FLSA can attempt to recover lost wages, overtime and other damages. If an employer retaliates against an employee who asserted his or her rights, the employer may be found in violation of the FLSA’s anti-discrimination provision. If an employee wants to try and obtain repayment without filing a lawsuit, they can speak with their employer directly about the money owed. If the employer offers payment and the employee accepts, then the worker forfeits his or her right to sue. 

Through what methods are provisions of the FLSA enforced?

There are many approaches to ensuring employers are upholding the standards listed in the FLSA for their business operation. The main procedures for enforcing these provisions are listed as follows:

  1. Through civil action or lawsuit filed by the federal government
  2. Employees filing private lawsuits (including collective actions and individual lawsuits)
  3. Prosecutions at the criminal level filed by the Department of Justice

Why should I examine my employment contract?

Before filing a lawsuit against your employer about suspected unpaid wages, you may want to review your employment contract. Upon hire, many employees simply sign the paperwork without thinking much about the fine print. But, there could be statements in your contract that you must attend arbitration, and are barred from filing a lawsuit regarding overtime pay or hourly wage. 

What is the process of arbitration?

Arbitration occurs when two parties bring forward evidence of their side of the story, and the ultimate decision for resolution is to be decided by an arbitrator. The arbitrator serves as an unbiased witness to the dispute between employer and employee. The final decision made on behalf of the arbitrator is binding to both parties involved. 

What happens if my employer intentionally violated the FLSA?

There can be criminal penalties for employers who deliberately violated the standards of the FLSA. The employer may be ordered by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reimburse the employee for back-pay, liquidated damages, in addition to fines or penalties at the criminal level. Criminal penalties imposed by the court for an employer that deliberately, intentionally and voluntarily violated a standard of the FLSA can include:

  • A fine of no more than $10,000 for the initial conviction
  • A fine of no more than $10,000 and/or a prison sentence of six months for all convictions after that