Almost all businesses face problems with employees at one time or another. These issues can range from minor employee handbook infractions to litigation nightmares based on discrimination and pay disputes. As a business owner, you may not be able to escape every employment problem, but you can take steps to safeguard against them.
If you own or manage a business with employees, the knowledgeable attorneys at Sparks Law could be an essential ally when disputes arise. One of our Atlanta employment lawyers can review your business practices and help address any issues before they turn into bigger problems down the line.
When an employee files a complaint or a lawsuit against an employer, it usually concerns one of several common issues. These include unpaid overtime, minimum wage violations, termination, discrimination, or hostile work environment, including sexual harassment.
The Georgia Department of Labor (DOL) reports that the state’s minimum wage is $5.15 per hour. Because this is lower than the federal minimum wage set in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Georgia employers must pay the higher federal minimum wage of $7.25. The FLSA also sets guidelines for overtime and child labor and describes the differences between employees and independent contractors.
Employers who are accused of unfair practices may need to appear before the Wages and Hours Division of the state or federal DOL, which enforces the FLSA and the Family Medical Leave Act. The seasoned attorneys at Sparks Law are experienced in representing employers at these proceedings. For instance, if a disgruntled employee files a civil lawsuit over wage violations, our employment lawyers can gather detailed logs of their work hours to create an airtight defense for the employer.
Discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation or any other protected status is prohibited in the workplace under Georgia and federal laws. Employers with a minimum of 15 employees as well as all government employers must comply with federal law under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Discrimination occurs when a job candidate or employee is treated unequally or excluded because of their difference. Unlawful practices also include purposely creating a toxic work environment using discriminatory behavior so that a reasonable person would quit the job, known as constructive discharge.
Sexual harassment also falls under EEOC jurisdiction. Complaints can range from unwanted sexual advances to conduct that another person in the workplace finds offensive. In EEOC proceedings and civil lawsuits in Atlanta, the hardworking employment lawyers at our firm can aggressively represent employers accused of discrimination or sexual harassment.
As an employer, there are steps you can take to prevent being sued or written up by a regulatory agency. For one, a skilled attorney could review how you conduct business, including discipline and discharge, record-keeping, contracts, and agreements on file. At Sparks Law, our seasoned legal team can offer the following premium services:
When a client is facing charges by employees, our local employment lawyers are versatile and immediate with our defense strategies. We also offer proactive strategies for identifying and improving areas that may lead to problems later on.
If an employee believes they have been wronged, they can take action through regulatory agencies and in court. An employer’s best defense against this is to prepare for problems before they arise by implementing fair labor practices and fostering an inclusionary work environment. At Sparks Law, our team can help you do just that.
A skilled Atlanta employment lawyer at our firm can review your current business practices and help prepare effective contracts, agreements, or employee manuals. We can also rigorously defend you if an employment issue gets out of hand. Give us a call today to learn how we can work to protect you and your business.