Last time, our blog discussed how once the euphoria associated with landing a new job wears off, a person should perhaps take some time to educate themselves about the wage laws in their state in order to protect themselves from possible exploitation by their employer.
There is perhaps no better feeling than getting a phone call from an employer offering you a job. While part of this is because the job will provide you with a stable income and maybe even benefits, another part is that it stands as a sort of validation of all of your hard work leading up to that point.
One of the more closely watched and hotly debated topics at both the state and federal level over the course of the last few years has been the adequacy of wage and hour laws.
Tomorrow will prove to be a historic day here in Minnesota as the minimum wage currently paid to hundreds of thousands of employees in a multitude of sectors is set to increase for the first time in almost ten years.
Minnesota lawmakers made headlines this past legislative session when they voted to raise the minimum wage in the state to $9.50 an hour by 2016, a move that has been since been lauded by both employees throughout the state and employment advocacy groups across the nation.
A group of more than 64,000 software engineers have reached an agreement with some of the country’s largest tech companies over an alleged $3 billion in wage theft over the course of four years. The engineers worked with the Department of Labor to obtain the settlement after it became clear that the software companies were working together to keep pay at a low, stable rate. Specifically, the companies colluded not to compete for employees. This had the result of eliminating competition for top talent, which prevented the normal salary increases that come along with changing one’s job.
The debate over whether student athletes on the college level should be increasingly compensated for their efforts continues, stoked by recent comments from the NCAA president made during an interview about the upcoming basketball championship games. Student athletes are not paid during their time playing for their school. Although many of them hope to go on to careers in the professional leagues, only a small fraction will. Now some are arguing that they should be paid in more than just discounted or free tuition for their time playing for colleges.
Advocates seeking to raise the federal minimum wage have gained the support of small business groups and the White House. A recent proposal by the Obama Administration asked to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour with a tie to the rising cost of living. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour which is generally accepted as too low a wage to live on in any state in the U.S.
As with other areas of the law, the landscape of employment law is ever-changing. Court opinions and regulatory actions always impact the real life applications of employment protection laws, particularly as debates continue over issues like employment discrimination. One influential case from last year has cast a long shadow in that area – the nationwide employment discrimination case against Wal-Mart. That case was dismissed by the United States Supreme Court for lack of cohesiveness as a class action. The result was stricter standards for filing class action lawsuits for employment discrimination.
An Oakland Raiders cheerleader just filed a proposed class-action lawsuit on behalf of 40 current and former Raiderettes. She claims the Raiderettes’ contract violates both state and federal wage and hour laws -- and cheerleaders’ contracts with other NFL teams probably do, as well. She invites other dancers with similar problems to join. Twenty-six of the NFL’s 32 teams, including the Minnesota Vikings, have cheerleaders.