Tennessee Legal Blog

When is appropriate to engage in wage and hour disputes?

Tennessee employers have the obligation to pay their workers fairly. This means giving them what they're rightfully owed, such as after they've worked overtime. Unpaid overtime is only one of the many ways wage theft can occur, and employees do not have to simply endure this type of unfair treatment in silence. Victims of this practice have the right to speak out and engage in wage and hour disputes. 

Employees may not be certain that what they are experiencing counts as wage theft. It's not always obvious and overt. Wage theft can also include more subtle things done by employer, such as asking employees to do tasks before or after clocking in. It also happens when an employer misclassifies an employee, which in turn affects his or her eligibility for minimum wage and overtime pay. 

Restaurant workers engage in wage and hour disputers for overtime

When a Tennessee worker does not get the full amount of money he or she deserves from an employer, it is grounds to move forward with a civil claim. Unpaid wages are grounds for wage and hour disputes, particularly when an employer does not properly classify workers or fails to pay rightful overtime wages. Restaurant workers at a Golden Corral in another state recently filed a lawsuit because the employer did not pay them enough.

In the lawsuit, the workers claim their employer did not pay them enough, including failing to pay minimum wage and overtime for a period of two years. If these allegations are true, it is a direct violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which is a federal law guaranteeing fair pay to certain classifications of workers. The claimants are seeking damages amounting to nearly $49,000.

Sullivan Baby Doe case moved to August, important lesson remains

A case surrounding neonatal abstinence syndrome and the opioid crisis in Tennessee has been rescheduled to go before a courtroom in Bristol on August 17. The "Sullivan Baby Doe" case alleges that major opioid manufacturers played a roll in the number of babies born with this syndrome when they flooded the area with drugs that were ultimately sold on the black market. It seeks to use the Tennessee Drug Dealer Liability Act as the basis for having these companies classified as dealers.

The act could lead to the manufacturers being held liable for the impacts of the illegal drug use. The companies are fighting back against the lawsuit by claiming the act is meant for street-level dealers and not corporations.

ERISA claim against Emory University settled for $17 million

Emory University recently agreed to pay $17 million in order to settle a lawsuit brought against the institution by retirement plan participants. The ERISA complaint was brought by those participating in retirement plans offered to those employed by the school. The claim stated that the executives of the plan violated their fiduciary duty owed to the participants, meaning they did not do everything required to handle employee contributions in a manner that was in the best interests of participants. 

When Tennessee employees invest their hard-earned income into an employer-offered retirement plan, they have the right to expect those funds to be used wisely. This means avoiding unnecessary fees that can cost participants money, as well as investing the funds prudently so as to get the best return on their investment. In the statement regarding the settlement, Emory denied any wrongdoing or mismanagement of retirement accounts.

Mass torts attorney: Experience with spam and robocall lawsuits

Most in Tennessee have experienced the annoyance and inconvenience of getting telemarketing calls. They can come during the evening, while trying to enjoy a meal, early in the morning and virtually any other time of day.  The Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule provide consumers some measure of protection against these types of calls, and in some cases, they can provide grounds to work with a mass torts attorney and move forward with spam and robocall lawsuits.

When these calls become too frequent and overwhelming, it may be reasonable to move forward with legal action. A consumer who is receiving unwanted and continual phone calls from debt collectors, telemarketers and other parties may want to consider the legal options available. An assessment of the case can determine if what the individual is experiencing is simply annoying or a violation of personal rights.

May is National Cancer Research Month -- mesothelioma

Every year, numerous Tennessee residents are diagnosed with cancer. As May is National Cancer Research Month, it seems an appropriate time to talk about one type of cancer in particular -- mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is generally caused by exposure to toxic substances, such as asbestos. It is a cancer for which there is no cure, but researchers are hopeful that there will be.

Mesothelioma occurs in the mesothelium, which is a thin tissue layer surrounding most internal organs. There are different types of this cancer, but the most common is called pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs. Those with this form of the disease often experience:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Weight loss
  • Coughing
  • Noticeable lumps on the chest

Dick's employees initiate wage and hour disputes for overtime pay

Dick's Sporting Goods, a sporting goods megastore with locations throughout the United States, is facing legal action over alleged unfair pay practices. Employees of the company have engaged in wage and hour disputes because of unpaid overtime. This case serves as an example of ways Tennessee workers can speak out and fight for their rights when they are not paid fairly.

The lawsuit against Dick's involves 18 assistant store managers from 14 stores in multiple states. They claim the company violated fair pay laws by misclassifying some of the employees. This is a tactic sometimes used by employers to avoid paying overtime and other benefits to specific workers. There are both state and federal laws in place that protect the rights of hourly workers. They have the right to overtime amounting to at least time and a half for every hour they work over 40 hours in one work week.

Truck drivers publicly engage in wage and hour disputes

When an employer does not pay a worker what he or she is owed or somehow blocks him or her from getting fair pay, that is a form of wage theft. Employees in Tennessee have the right to pursue their unpaid wages, even if that means engaging in wage and hour disputes, and taking their complaints public. This happened recently in another state when truck drivers staged a protest over alleged wage theft. 

The claims made by the truckers center around various concerns over pay, including earning honest pay on their loads, paying fair insurance rates and reasonable broker regulations. The main intent of the protest was to point out unpaid wages from brokers for work already completed. The protest actually blocked traffic and caused congestion, leading to law enforcement coming to speak with the truckers to inform them they could not continue to impede vehicles. 

Companies can prevent defective products but often don't bother

It takes a lot of time, effort and even infrastructure to take a concept and turn it into a salable product. Companies may invest tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in prototypes, materials and testing before they have a market-ready product.

Unfortunately, while some companies will go to great lengths to make sure they only put their names on viable, valuable products, other businesses will happily back mediocre products or even make knockoff versions of other, popular products.

Wage and hour disputes in the construction industry

Tennessee employers have the obligation to fairly pay employees for worked they've completed. When they fail to do this, it often lead to wage and hour disputes as workers engage in legal action to collect what they've rightfully earned. Unpaid overtime and failing to properly pay wages by misclassifying workers is a form of wage theft, and victims have the right to fight back.

This can easily happen in the construction industry when an employer misclassifies a worker in order to avoid paying minimum wage and overtime. Recently, a U.S. District Court found a construction company in contempt after it failed to pay the full amount it owed to workers. Previously in 2016, the company agreed to pay workers a settlement of $2.4 million in unpaid wages after allegations of unfair pay practices arose. This past fall, however, it was discovered that the company had only paid $480,000.

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