We are now only a few weeks away from the official start of the school year here in Minnesota. If you don't believe it, turn on your television or peruse the Internet for just a short time, and you will soon be inundated with back-to-school advertisements showcasing everything from clothes to notebooks.
Last time, our blog took a closer look at what both state law and federal law had to say regarding the payment of overtime, examining how it is calculated, as well as which employers are bound to pay it and which employees are exempt from it.
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.
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.
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.
The question of whether workers are the legal employees of or independent contractors for the companies they work for is important to individuals, because independent contractors are often paid much less and are not entitled to benefits. It's also important to the government because businesses don't pay employment taxes for contractors.
It doesn’t appear that the shutdown of the federal government that began on Tuesday is likely to end quickly, that that could cause some headaches for workers. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor has had to put more than 80 percent of its workforce on furlough, leaving only 2,954 Labor Department employees on the job nationwide. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a division of the Labor Department, and its workforce has been cut even more deeply -- to 5 percent of its usual size. That means a total of 107 people are currently on staff at the EEOC.
If you’ve ever worked as a home health aide or nursing assistant, you’re probably aware that these so-called “companionship services,” however vitally important, have not been subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal law that guarantees the minimum wage and overtime pay. Even when the U.S. Department of Labor revised the definition of companionship services in 2011, home healthcare workers were specifically excluded from FLSA coverage.
Rick's Cabaret International, operator of the gentlemen’s club here in Minneapolis and others nationwide, could be facing substantial liability in a class-action lawsuit brought by more than 1,900 current and former exotic dancers at its Manhattan location. Other Rick’s Cabarets had better evaluate their own policies or they could find themselves facing lawsuits, as well.