Kentucky Labor Laws
In Kentucky, like all over America, workers are sometimes subjected to unfair and illegal working conditions. These labor violations can cause significant hardships for the victims, from lost income to missed opportunities for advancement.
If you believe you may have been the victim of wage theft, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, or another unlawful labor practice, contact Morgan & Morgan. The labor and employment attorneys at our Kentucky offices are here to help.
Wage & Hour Violations
Employers employ all sorts of unethical tactics to avoid paying their workers the wages they are entitled to. These include:
- Misclassifying Employees: In Kentucky, certain workers are exempt from receiving overtime pay. Those who are not must be paid time-and-a-half for all hours worked above 40 in a week. To avoid this obligation, some employers intentionally misclassify workers as exempt.
- Minimum Wage Violations: The minimum wage in Kentucky is $7.25/hour as of 2020, which matches the federal rate. Some employers pay their workers below the minimum wage, regardless.
- Denying Breaks: Under Kentucky law, workers are entitled to a “reasonable” off-duty period to eat. In addition, they are allowed a paid 10 minute rest break every four hours. Some employers deny their workers these rights.
- Denying Leave: Kentucky does not require private employers to provide paid or unpaid sick leave. However, employers must adhere to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which affords workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain individual and family medical situations.
Employees in Kentucky are considered “at-will.” That means they can be dismissed for almost any reason, with or without warning. There are, however, exceptions to the at-will rule. You may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit if:
- You were fired because of your race, sex, religion, age, disability, or another protected characteristic
- You were let go for reporting discrimination
- You were dismissed in breach of an employment contract
- You were fired for exercising the rights afforded to you by the FMLA
- You were let go because you filed a workers’ compensation claim for your injury
Most employers hire the best person for the job and handle day-to-day operations without taking into account their employees’ personal attributes. However, discrimination still takes place in some Kentucky workplaces.
Examples of workplace discrimination include:
- Refusing to hire a job applicant because of their skin color
- Failing to promote an employee on account of their gender
- Refusing to accommodate the religious customs of an employee
- Using unnecessary job qualifications to exclude members of minority groups
- Refusing to provide reasonable accomodations for a disabled worker
Workplace harassment may take the form of “quid pro quo” (this for that) harassment, which occurs when employment decisions or treatment are based on submission to unwanted (typically sexual) demands. It may also take the form of offensive conduct, such as:
- Making unwelcome comments about a coworker’s body
- Telling vulgar or sexual jokes
- Making negative comments about a coworker’s religious beliefs
- Using racial slurs
- Making jokes about an employee’s age
- Impersonating a coworker with a disability
- Making offensive gestures
Why Should I Hire a Labor & Employment Attorney?
If you are involved in a dispute with your employer, it’s important that you hire a labor and employment attorney rather than pursue your own case. Most of the time, companies have ample resources at their disposal. Some even have legal counsel on their payroll.
At Morgan & Morgan, we have the resources to take on any employer, and we’ve been through this before. In fact, our attorneys have filed more labor and employment cases than any other law firm. Across our practice areas, we’ve recovered upwards of $7 billion for our clients.
Contact a Kentucky Labor & Employment Attorney
If you suspect your employer or a coworker violated your rights in the workplace, contact one of our Kentucky offices. You may be entitled to compensation, and our attorneys may be able to help you get it.
To get started, fill out a free, no-risk case evaluation.