Established in 1938, the Fair Standards Labor Act (FSLA) is a U.S. labor law that creates the workers’ rights to minimum wage, which is time-and-a-half for overtime when you work more than 40 hours a week. The law applies to employees who are engaged in interstate commerce or employed by an enterprise that engages in the production of goods for commerce unless there is a way that the employer can claim exemption from coverage.
In general, the law applies to any business that has at least $500,000 of annual business or gross sales. Those businesses are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act and its protections if there aren’t other applicable exemptions. Several exemptions exist that allow an employer to be relieved from meeting the statutory minimum wage, overtime and detailed recordkeeping requirements.
The largest exceptions to the law are what are referred to as the white collar exemptions that apply to executive, administrative, and professional employees. These exemptions are narrow, so an employer must prove that their employees fit “plainly and unmistakably” within the terms of the exemption.
What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?
Passed by the United States Congress in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has gone through several changes over nearly a century. The FLSA establishes a wide variety of regulations that employers must follow when dealing with workers. Much of the emphasis of the FLSA concerns work conditions.
The federal law requires employers to pay a minimum wage, which as of 2022 sits at $7.25 per hour. Tipped employees, such as servers and hotel valets, receive a lower minimum wage because a majority of their income comes from gratuities.
Many states have enacted laws that establish a higher minimum wage than the one dictated by the United States Congress. For example, the minimum wage in California is $15.00 an hour.
FLSA statutes also address the issue of overtime. Before the passage of the federal law in 1938, employers did not have to operate with any overtime restrictions. What an employer demanded in hours worked, an employer got without a legal fight from workers.
The FLSA requires employers to pay time and a half in wages for workers that are on the clock for every hour over 40 hours a week. For example, if an employee makes $16.00 an hour, the employee receives compensation worth $24.00 for every hour worked above 40 hours a week.
Some states have enacted laws that establish overtime pay on a daily basis. Every hour worked over eight hours a day allows a worker to receive time and a half in compensation.
Who Is Protected?
For the most part, the law protects all workers. It was enacted to help employees in the workplace avoid unfair treatment and unfair labor practices. So, the law was created to help protect all workers. The Fair Labor Standards Act is very important because it stays current.
Federal minimum wage is continuously changing and being updated. It is set to increase over the next few years as well. The law will ensure that businesses adhere to the new changes, and that they will properly pay employees at the current minimum wage and ensure that they are treated fairly.
If you believe that the law is being violated, then you should speak with the human resources department where you work. If they don’t properly address the issue, or give you a satisfactory response, you may want to talk with an employment law attorney who handles FSLA claims and infractions.
You may be able to file a complaint with the proper entity, and then you may be able to pursue a claim and recover compensation for your damages. If you are not being paid for overtime, you could be the victim of wage theft.
This is illegal and you can pursue a claim to recover the compensation for your time worked. You should check your paystub and compare to it to your timesheet and make sure you are being paid overtime for any hours that you work in excess in 40 hours.
Examples of Fair Labor Standards Act Violations
There are many ways the Fair Labor Standards Act could be violated. If an employee is paid hourly, and he or she is working 50 hours per week and isn’t being paid the time-and-a-half overtime wages, then they are a victim of wage theft and their employer can be penalized for their actions and the employee is entitled to be compensated for the lost wages.
You should maintain thorough documentation to support your claim so you can prove what happened and how it happened. Always keep your employee handbook and any contract of employment or other documents that you receive when you are hired on, during training, and throughout the time that you work there. Documentation and evidence are essential to any claim that you may have against your employer for the violations of employment laws.
Consult With An Employment Law Attorney
If you don’t believe you are being treated fair and it is because your employer is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, you should talk with an employment law attorney. These are attorneys who specialize in the different aspects of employment law and stay current on both the state and federal laws.
While some of these lawyers take cases on a contingency basis, so they aren’t paid unless they win your claim, there are others who handle their fees using a different approach. You should go over the fees and payment process with the attorney when you retain him or her for your case.
There is a statute of limitations, or a time limit for pursuing an employment law claim after the FSLA has been violated. If you wait too long, you will not be able to recover compensation for your damages so you should act today. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to have the details of your case reviewed by an attorney who handles Fair Labor Standards Act cases in your state.