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What The Law Says About Wages, Work Safety and Discrimination

With few exceptions, your employer is required to pay a minimum wage for all hours worked during a given pay period. Furthermore, the law makes it clear that you are entitled to a safe workplace that is free from discrimination. Let’s take a closer look at the various state and federal laws that protect you against mistreatment on the job.

What You Should Know About Minimum Wage Laws

The federal Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) sets rules regarding the minimum wage, when employees must be paid and the payroll records employers are required to keep. As of July 2021, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, and the state of Texas has set its minimum wage at the same level. If you work more than 40 hours during a given week, you are entitled to an overtime rate that is 150% of your average wage. It’s important to note that employers must account for any hours worked in the pay period that they are accrued.

For example, if you worked 50 hours during a given workweek, you must be paid 10 hours of overtime. If your employer tries to move those hours to the next workweek, it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney. In some cases, it may be possible to obtain back pay, interest and additional damages in a wage violation case. Working with the best lawyer in Plano may make it easier to obtain the compensation that you’re entitled to.

What You Should Know About Workplace Safety Laws

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the main agency responsible for ensuring that your employer provides you with a reasonably safe work environment. Generally speaking, companies are required to take reasonable steps to eliminate hazards that might result in falls, hearing loss or health issues such as cancer.

These steps may include providing access to personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hard hats, boots or goggles. If you work on a construction site, your supervisor must create a safety plan that employees can review at any time. It may also be necessary to designate someone to inspect machines, conduct air quality tests or take other steps to actively monitor job sites for any potential hazards that may arise.

If you are hurt on the job, it may be a good idea to contact the best lawyer in Plano about applying for workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may have standing to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.

What Does the Law Say About Workplace Discrimination?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination based on factors such as sex, gender and nationality. Furthermore, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prevents an employer from using age as the primary basis of a employment decision if an employee is over the age of 40.

These Rules May Not Apply If You’re an Independent Contractor

It’s important to note that the majority of employment laws apply only to those who are classified as employees. If you are classified as an independent contractor, you are not covered under federal workers’ compensation laws, and companies may not be obligated to provide any type of PPE if you happen to be working in a hazardous environment. Furthermore, you’re not entitled to a minimum wage or any fringe benefits that an organization might offer to its employees.

However, it’s not uncommon for companies to incorrectly label employees as independent contractors in an effort to cut costs and address liability concerns. In the event that you have been misclassified, it may be possible to obtain compensation in a settlement or after a formal trial. An attorney may be able to represent your interests throughout the legal process.

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