Employment Law – Employer

For over the past three decades, Oppenheim Law has regularly been engaged in various employment law disputes. We have represented various companies in defending employment related matters concerning:

  • • Unpaid Hourly Wages
    • Unpaid Overtime
    • Workplace Discrimination
    • Sexual harassment
    • Family Medical Leave Act/Pregnancy Discrimination
    • Non-Compete Agreements

Unpaid Hourly Wages Defense

As an employer, there is a likelihood that at some point during the lifespan of your business a current or former employee will claim that your company did not correctly compensate them for their time worked. Common allegations by employees bringing a lawsuit for unpaid wages against their current or former employers include but are not limited to the employers failure to:

  • • Pay for employee wages for time spent in company meetings
    • Pay for employee training sessions
    • Correctly account for hours worked
    • Provide compensation for time worked at home for the benefit of the company
    • Provide compensation for travel time between work sites

A common challenge that employers face is actually proving that the employee did not work the amount of time that the employee claims that he or she did not get compensated for. The reason that such a situation is such a challenging feat is because the law places the burden on the employer to prove that the allegations of the employee are in fact false. The reality is that, generally speaking, the employee bringing the lawsuit needs no “hard” proof to support his or her claim of unpaid hourly wages.

Just because the burden is on you and/or your company to prove that you are innocent does not mean the case is not defendable. Contact Oppenheim Law so we can discuss with you the methods our firm uses in defending unpaid hourly wage claims.

Unpaid Overtime Wages Defense

Federal Law, thorough the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), requires employers to compensate employees at their base hourly wage plus 50% for each additional hour that the employee works after forty hours during any consecutive seven day period. This pay structure is what is commonly referred to as “time-and-a-half” pay. Very often, (disgruntled?) current or former employees of a company will file a lawsuit alleging unpaid overtime wages and other and FLSA violations. When facing a claim for unpaid overtime wages, the employer has the burden of disproving the employee’s claims. Overcoming this burden is generally done by proving that the employee either did not perform the overtime duties claimed by the employee or by demonstrating that the employee was in fact correctly compensated for the overtime duties performed. Another effective defense involves proving that the employee falls within a legally recognized category of employment in which overtime pay exemptions are available. By proving that the employee does fit within one of the various exempt categories, their claim for unpaid overtime wages will be rendered meritless.

Facing unpaid overtime claims can feel like a ton of weights on the shoulders of you and your company. Our firm can help you resolve your unpaid overtime issues so that you can go back and focus on what is really important. Give us a call today to get in touch with one of our employment law attorneys to discuss your case and assist you in identifying your legal options towards a satisfactory resolution.

Discrimination Defense

Florida is an “at will state.” This means that when acting in the capacity of an employer, you may hire and fire as you please. However, as an employer, you may not “discriminate when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job, assignments, promotions, layoff, training or any other term or condition of employment.” Factors that cannot be considered in any aspect of employment are race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, or religion.

Unfortunately, lawsuits alleging discrimination are often brought against an employer after a potential employee was not hired or an existing employee was terminated or refused advancement within the company. There are other instances where an individual may perceive discriminatory practices when there is truly no discrimination going on. If your company is facing allegations of discrimination, contact us for a consultation. We will explain to you the successful strategies that our firm utilizes in defending discrimination cases.

Family Medical Leave Act/Pregnancy Discrimination Defense

Employers that fall within the purview of the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) are required to offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave without jeopardizing the job status of eligible employees for various medical situations. Among the several “medical situations” enumerated by the FMLA, pregnancy is one.

If a current of former employee has filed a lawsuit claiming any FMLA violations, the first step you should take is determine if your company must actually comply with the FMLA. Frequently, plaintiffs mistakenly believe that the company they work for are “covered” under the FMLA.

The second step is to determine whether the employee bringing the claim is actually eligible to do so under the FMLA. Plaintiff also may believe that they themselves are covered under the FMLA when in fact they are not “eligible employees” under the Act. If you need assistance in answering these preliminary questions or would like to have a consultation with our experienced employment law defense attorneys, give our firm a call and we will gladly assist you.

Sexual Harassment Defense

A sexual harassment lawsuit against you or an employee of your business is a devastating and embarrassing event for both the accused and the company associated with the accused. There are both civil and criminal charges that can be pursued by the accuser. The law does not always prohibit mere teasing and isolated comments or incidents that are not very serious; however, there is a very fine line between what is considered legal conduct or illegal sexual harassment. If you, your company, or an employee is facing a sexual harassment allegation or lawsuit, you may contact our office so that we can discuss the specifics of the sexual harassment case and determine what path may be pursued in order to reach a favorable resolution for you and/or your company.

Non-Compete Agreements

In any dispute that arises regarding a non-compete agreement or clause (the “non-compete”), the most important issue is whether the non-compete is actually enforceable by a court with proper jurisdiction. Generally speaking, the factors that are weighed in determining whether a non-compete will be found to be enforceable are:

  • Employment Restrictions – Are the employment restrictions within the non-compete restricting an employee from working for current competitors or do they also include restrictions on working for companies or performing jobs that are not linked to competitors?
  • Duration of the Non-Compete Agreement – Is the duration of the non-compete for a period greater than that needed by the employer to adjust to the loss of the employee? Or is the duration considered a reasonable period in order to protect the employer’s short-term business interests?
  • Unreasonable Restrictions – Are there clauses within the non-compete that call for restrictions that are unrelated to the protection of the company attempting to enforce the non-compete? For instance, a restriction on a former employee’s right to be a passive investor of a competitors company may be deemed an unreasonable restriction.
  • Geographical Limitations – The question of whether the geographical area being restricted by the non-compete is too broad will always be analyzed in weighing whether the non-compete is enforceable. Another relevant variable in the analysis of geographical limitations is whether an employee will be able to find work near his or her home if the non-compete is deemed enforceable.

If you need assistance in creating a robust and enforceable non-compete agreement or are in a dispute over the enforcement of a non-compete agreement, contact Oppenheim Law for a consultation to discuss your legal options.

Should you or your company have to face the unfortunate situation of having to defend against an allegation of any of the violations discussed above, do not hesitate to contact our firm. Oppenheim Law’s team of highly experienced attorneys are available to discuss the facts revolving around the allegations being made against you or your company and assist you in identifying options available in order to come to a favorable resolution and allow you to focus on your business instead of these distractions.

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