The relationship between an employee and their employer has never been one of equal bargaining power. Most employers respect their employees and understand the value of a strong relationship, but others believe their position gives them the right to behave however they see fit. Wage theft and discrimination are common.
Birmingham is home to some of the industries America built its foundation upon, such as steel manufacturing and transportation. Birmingham is also experiencing a cultural revitalization that is beginning to affect the city’s tourism industry. Many of these industries have been historically divisive when it comes to the worker and employer, and these problems have persisted since.
Our team of labor and employment lawyers understands the difficulty that comes dealing with an employer who doesn’t value the time and effort you put into your job.
We may be able to seek compensation for the time you’ve worked, or answer questions you might have. Fill out our free case evaluation form today to learn more.
Fair Pay for Fair Work in Birmingham
Following the Great Depression, the federal, state, and local governments began to regulate the terms of employment to protect the workforce. This regulation has evolved into a variety of areas, many of which are covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act:
- Minimum wage – Most non-tipped employees are entitled to receive a minimum hourly wage for work. Federal law sets that wage at $7.25/hr. Alabama has no minimum wage in place beyond the federal standard.
Overtime – With some exceptions, the FLSA requires that employees be paid “time and a half” – 150 percent of their normal hourly wages – if they work more than 40 hours in a calendar week. This is established under federal law, as the state of Alabama has no overtime law. Localities within Alabama, however, may enact such ordinances.
Emergency leave – The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12 month period for events such as the birth of a child, a personal illness or injury, or the illness of a family member. Alabama has no further emergency leave requirements.
- Unpaid wages – Sometimes, employers simply don’t pay outgoing employees the wages they are owed. This can be regular salary as well as unused vacation and leave, commissions, bonuses, and other vested rights. Alabama law allows employees to sue for these unpaid wages and, if successful, to also have their legal fees paid by the employer.
Workplace Discrimination Can Occur
Most employers are pragmatic enough to hire the best person for the job without taking into account race, gender, religion, or an employee’s other personal attributes.
But discrimination and harassment in the workplace still occur frequently in the United States, and Birmingham is no exception. Some discrimination can be subtle, and often appear inadvertent, but is still harmful. This includes:
- Refusing to hire
- Using unnecessary job qualifications to root out members of minority groups
- Failing to promote
- Refusing to hire a person with disabilities even though they are able to do the job with reasonable accommodation
- Refusing to reasonably accommodate the religious practice or custom of an employee
- Unfairly enforcing disciplinary policies against members of minority groups
- Advertising positions in ways that exclude minority groups
- Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation for a disabled employee who requests it
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Discrimination in the workplace can appear in a variety of ways, and a seasoned Birmingham attorney can help you understand more about your situation.
Realities of a Hostile Work Environment
Even when discrimination or a labor violation hasn’t occurred, there is a legal expectation that your employer will control the workplace environment. This includes policies preventing harassment based on your identity. For this reason, it is crucial victims of workplace harassment in Alabama report the behavior to their supervisors, human resources, or other designated entity in their company immediately. If the employer fails to respond, it may be time to speak to an Birmingham workplace harassment attorney.
Let Us Stand Up With You to Fight in Birmingham
Holding an employer accountable for labor and employment violations in Alabama can not only be cumbersome, but debilitating. Financial loss is only one possible effect of discrimination, but fear, stress, and a loss of self-esteem can also result from repeated harassment in the workplace. At Morgan & Morgan, our employment and labor attorneys in Birmingham recognize the harm this experience can cause for workers, and are ready to fight on their behalves.
There is no up-front cost to hire a Morgan & Morgan attorney and the consultation is free. Reach out to us today by filling out a case evaluation form and find out more about how one of our attorneys might be able to help you.