Perhaps the most important area of employment law – especially to employees – is wage and hour law. The Oregon and Federal laws address the employee’s rate of pay, the hours worked, and the timing of payments to the employee.
These broad categories cover many potential areas of dispute, including
- Travel time, meal breaks, and other off-the-clock time
- Overtime pay
- Minimum wage issues
- Tips and revenue sharing
- Employee status vs. independent contractor status
- Final paychecks
Claims can be brought on behalf of a single employee or a class of “similarly situated” employees. In other words, you may be entitled to bring a claim if you alone have been singled out, or if your entire employee group is being treated unfairly.
Having attorneys who understand the wage and hour laws of both Oregon and Federal courts is important. Also important is having attorneys who genuinely care about you and your future. At Kroll & Johnson, P.C., our employment litigation attorneys will work with you to find the most appropriate and financially sensible solution.
There is no risk for you at all – the initial consultation is completely free and confidential. If we proceed with a lawsuit, you pay nothing for your attorney fees. Ever. If we win your case for you, our fees are included in the award. In other words, we don’t get paid unless we win your case.
Off-The-Clock Employment Issues
Employers love to cut costs wherever possible. Getting free work from employees is a great way to cut costs. Many employers will deny pay to employees who are “on call,” or on break. However, both Oregon and Federal law require employers to pay hourly wages to employees who are working – wherever the employee is. Hourly employees are entitled to be paid for all the time they work.
With technology’s broad reach, it is not uncommon for employees with cell phone and computer access to do work from their own homes or vehicles. Employers must realize that this is compensable work.
In addition, issues may arise from improper breaks or meal times. Unless an employee is exempt, they are entitled to a 30-minute, uninterrupted meal break during their shift (assuming the employee works 6 or more hours in a single work period). If the employer forces the employee to take a “working lunch,” and denies the employee the full 30 minutes, this is compensable time.
With the technological age upon us, employees are doing more and more off-the-clock work than ever before. If you think your employer is taking unfair advantage of you, your time, and your finances, give Kroll & Johnson, P.C. a call today for your free consultation.
Overtime Work Lawyers
Both Oregon and Federal laws require that hourly employees who work more than 40 hours a week be paid for overtime. Some employees may be deemed exempt from overtime, but the burden is on the employer to demonstrate that the employee is in fact exempt. Managers or supervisors are generally considered exempt from overtime pay, as they are salaried. So, unscrupulous companies will often designate employees as “Assistant Manager” or “Floor Supervisor” or some other meaningless title. Instead of paying that employee hourly, the company places them on salary, thereby eliminating the need to pay the time-and-a-half overtime wage.
This is illegal. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) has clearly stated that a job title and the imposition of a salary is not enough to make an otherwise hourly employee exempt from overtime. If you feel that your Oregon-based employer is taking unfair advantage of you and refusing to pay your justly earned overtime compensation, give us a call today for your free consultation.
Final Paycheck Issues
Whenever you leave a job, for whatever reason, you are entitled to your final paycheck. Oregon law is very strict on employers in these situations. If an employer is late delivering your final paycheck or miscalculates the amount, you are entitled to compensation. All final paychecks must contain the entirety of pay owed to you, including overtime, vacation time, and sick time, if applicable.
Failure of an employer to provide a proper and timely final paycheck can lead to penalties of up to 30 days’ pay. To recover any penalties, however, you are required to give notice to your employer of the failure to pay. Because these cases are time sensitive, if you have any questions, you should call the Portland Employment Lawyers at Kroll & Johnson, P.C. for a free consultation.
Minimum Wage Claims
Oregon’s minimum wage is higher than the Federal standard. When laws conflict, the law that gives the most protection to the employee is the one that controls the situation. Some employers may take deductions from an employee’s paycheck for things like uniforms, maintenance, training, etc. If these deductions cause the employee’s hourly rate to fall below Oregon’s minimum wage, the employer is responsible for making up the difference.
Tips and Tip-Sharing
It is quite common for employees, such as servers, to pool their tips and share them. This is allowed. However, it is illegal for a company to require that the tip pools be shared with salaried workers, such as managers. If an employer forces its hourly employees to tip-share outside of the eligible pool of workers, this can lead to a lawsuit, or even a class-action issue.
Employee Status vs. Independent Contractor Status
Employees (whether hourly or salaried) are entitled to many protections and benefits under Oregon and Federal laws, including minimum wage and overtime protections. Sometimes, a careless or ill-intentioned employer may classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees, thereby denying the workers access to benefits and protection under the law. There is a rather complicated analysis to determine whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee. If an employer has wrongfully classified you as an independent contractor, the employer is potentially liable for the financial fallout.
Oregon Wage and Hour Attorneys Fighting For you
If you are an employee who feels you have been wronged in any way with your wages, give the experienced litigators at Kroll & Johnson, P.C., a call.
Let us help you – the initial consultation is free, and we don’t get paid a cent unless we win your case for you.