Labor and Employment Lawyer in Washington, D.C.1901 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W, Suite 300
, Washington, D.C. 20006
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Labor and Employment Lawyers in Washington, DC
Injustice in the workplace persists, despite several federal and District of Columbia laws designed to protect workers from exploitation, discrimination, and inequality. Even today, Washington DC’s workers may experience disadvantages due to their color, disability, race, gender, and other traits.
Morgan & Morgan thinks worker exploitation and discrimination are unacceptable. We work tirelessly to help employees stand up against unscrupulous employers and receive what they deserve. If you are the victim of wage and labor violations or unlawful discrimination, our labor and employment lawyers in Washington, DC, want to hear from you. We could help you fight back and seek compensation. Contact us now for a free, no-obligation case review to identify your legal options.
Wage and Hour Law Violations in Washington, DC
If your employer violates wage and hour laws, such as denying you overtime pay or making illegal deductions from your paycheck, you could hold them to account. Some of the more common wage and hour violations include:
Minimum Wage Violations
According to the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES), the minimum wage in Washington, DC, is $16.10 per hour as of July 1, 2022. DC’s minimum wage is significantly higher than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25. The minimum wage for tipped employees in DC currently stands at $5.35 per hour.
Most employees are entitled to the mandated minimum wage. You should receive at least the equivalent of the hourly minimum wage even as a salaried employee. To check whether you are getting paid properly, divide your weekly salary by your weekly hours worked. Your employer is underpaying you if the amount is lower than the current minimum wage.
Under DC labor laws, you could be entitled to substantial compensation if an employer underpays you, as you could recover up to four times the amount you are owed, plus costs and attorney’s fees.
Failing to Pay Overtime
According to the District of Columbia Minimum Wage Act, most employees are entitled to receive at least one and a half times their regular pay rate for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Employees may not receive the overtime pay they are entitled to due to:
- Employers miscalculating pay
- Workers receiving a flat salary
- Employers misclassifying workers as exempt
Failing to pay DC workers overtime pay is wage theft. If you suspect you should be paid overtime rates, contact a labor and employment lawyer in Washington, DC, for advice. If your employer violates minimum wage laws, you could recover up to four times the wages you are owed.
Failing to Pay Breaks
Employees in the District of Columbia generally do not have to give workers any breaks. That said, if they allow staff to take breaks, employers must pay for breaks lasting 20 minutes or less. Longer meal breaks of thirty minutes or more may be unpaid as long as the employee is relieved of all job duties and can use the time as they wish.
Unlawful Paycheck Deductions
Employers in DC are generally not allowed to deduct amounts from an employee’s paycheck for any items that benefit the employer, such as work equipment, lost revenue due to theft, or uniforms. However, there are some exceptions. Employers may make certain deductions, including taxes, pension deductions, and court garnishments.
Various federal laws and the DC Human Rights Act (DCHRA) protect employees from discrimination in the workplace. According to the laws, employees must not be discriminated against due to their:
- National Origin
- Sexual orientation
- Marital status
Examples of Unlawful Discrimination in the Workplace
Discrimination can take many forms and may be overt or subtle. Some examples of unlawful discrimination at work or during the recruitment process include:
- Turning down a candidate for a job or promotion due to age
- Refusing to hire or interview an individual based on their color, race, or nationality
- Failing to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled employees
- Racial slurs or other forms of discriminatory harassment by managers or supervisors
- Firing a pregnant employee
- Treating genders unequally regarding pay and benefits
- Wrongful termination
Workers are entitled to be treated fairly and respectfully regardless of racial background, age, or disability. Discrimination at work is not only illegal but also deeply distressing. You can and should demand justice and compensation if you experience illegal discrimination at work. Our labor and employment lawyers in Washington, DC, could help you fight back and file a claim or lawsuit against your employer.
Unlawful Retaliation in Washington, DC
Retaliation against employees is illegal. Employers may retaliate against employees for several reasons, such as filing or assisting with a discrimination or workers’ compensation claim.
Retaliation is the most common charge filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In 2021, more than half of all discrimination charges were based on retaliation.
Refusing Family and Medical Leave
In Washington, DC, workers enjoy a generous family and medical leave allowance compared to other states. In addition to 12 weeks of unpaid leave granted to employees in the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), workers in DC can take a further four weeks’ leave, up to 16 weeks altogether. You could be eligible for family and medical leave when you:
- Give birth or adopt a child
- Experience a temporary disability or significant medical condition preventing you from working
- Care for a family member experiencing significant illness
In addition to unpaid leave, DC employees may also qualify for paid leave in certain circumstances.
If an employer wrongfully denies you family or medical leave in DC, they are breaking the law, and you could have legal recourse. If this happens to you, you can file a complaint with the Washington, DC, Office of Human Rights (OHR).
Your Rights When Returning to Work
An employer is not only required to provide you with adequate emergency leave, but must also restore you to your previous position or an equivalent job when you return to work. The position must be sufficiently similar to your job regarding working conditions, pay and benefits, and duties.
Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.
Morgan & Morgan
Do You Need a Labor and Employment Lawyer in Washington, DC?
In some cases, employees can settle minor disputes with their employer or HR department directly. However, if you experience considerable wage theft, unlawful discrimination, or wrongful termination, getting legal advice can help you identify all options for obtaining justice and compensation. Employment attorneys handle the following cases and others:
- Wrongful termination
- Wage and hour violations
- Worker misclassification
- Medical and family leave violations
- Wage theft
- Sexual harassment
Employment claims can be complex and tricky, especially for those without expert legal representation. Labor and employment attorneys know the laws that apply to your case and can fight for fair compensation on your behalf.
Moreover, the statute of limitations to file a case in Washington, DC, can be as short as one year. Claimants generally must first file a charge with the EEOC within 180 days. Therefore, it can be a good idea to contact an attorney as soon as possible, so you do not run out of time to hold your employer legally accountable. An experienced attorney can give you the best chance to recover the compensation you deserve.
What Compensation Could DC Workers Receive?
If you sue your employer for violation of federal or DC labor laws, you may not only be entitled to any unpaid wages and back pay, but could also recover legal expenses, attorney’s fees, liquidated damages, and any other payments that a court considers appropriate. In DC specifically, you could recover up to four times the wages you are owed.
How Can Morgan & Morgan Help Workers?
Standing up against an employer can feel intimidating and stressful. However, with Morgan & Morgan on your side, you can rest assured that we will protect your rights, fight for your best interests, and handle all legal aspects of your claim. First, we will assess your claim and move forward if we believe you have a case. We can:
- Identify your legal options and the next best steps
- Help you file a claim with the OHR or EEOC
- Gather evidence to support your employment case
- Assess what you are owed in back pay and other damages
- Negotiate a fair settlement
- File a lawsuit against your employer if necessary
- Fight tirelessly for maximum compensation
We never settle for less and don’t want you to leave money on the table. Morgan & Morgan believes that workers are entitled to comprehensive compensation, whether in a wage and hour or discrimination claim. We fight employment claims aggressively because we want to discourage employers from treating their workers with anything less than the respect, dignity, and pay they deserve.
How Much Does a Labor and Employment Lawyer in Washington, DC Cost?
The costs of hiring a lawyer in DC can vary considerably. Some labor lawyers charge $500 or more per hour to work on an employment-related case. Others ask their clients for an upfront retainer, which could amount to several thousand dollars before they start to work. Significant downsides of such fee structures include:
- Claimants still have to pay when they lose the case
- Attorneys may be less motivated than those working on a “no-win-no-fee” basis
At Morgan & Morgan, we do things differently. We want DC’s workers to have the best shot at winning their cases, regardless of their financial situation. Therefore, we charge you nothing upfront when we take your case. Our attorneys only win when you win and are highly motivated to fight for the best possible outcome for you. Moreover, the employer typically has to pay attorney’s fees if they lose the case.
What Should I Do When Experiencing Discrimination at Work?
We understand that any type of discrimination can be infuriating, and we believe that you should not suffer in silence and put up with unfair treatment. However, knowing your best next steps can be critical for getting justice. First, report the incident to your human resources department, supervisor, or employer. However, be prepared that your concerns and grievances may be ignored. In that case, it is time to get active and:
- File a charge with the EEOC or OHR
- Collect evidence of your claim, such as paperwork, emails, and witness statements
- Make detailed notes of the incident, including time and date, and names of the person(s) involved
- Contacting a Washington, DC, employment lawyer to protect your rights
Can an Employer Fire Me for Reporting Discrimination or Sexual Harassment?
According to state and federal laws, it is unlawful to retaliate against employees that report illegal discrimination or harassment. Therefore, your employer must not fire you for doing so. If you are let go after reporting harassment or discrimination, you could potentially sue your employer for wrongful termination. Our labor and employment attorneys could help you assert your rights if you are a victim of workplace retaliation.
When Should I Call a Labor and Employment Lawyer in Washington, DC?
It is best to contact an employment attorney as soon as you encounter a significant issue at work, such as sexual harassment, unfair treatment, or wrongful termination. The sooner your attorney can assess your case and gather the relevant evidence for a claim, the better. Moreover, since the deadline for filing employment-related claims and lawsuits can be short, understanding your rights and options as soon as possible can be critical for getting justice.
Morgan & Morgan Wants Justice for Workers
No worker should put up with being financially exploited, discriminated against, or harassed. Morgan & Morgan understands that unfair treatment at work can negatively influence all spheres of your life, including your career, home life, and mental health.
You do not have to stand for it. We have helped countless workers recover the compensation they deserve and could help you too. Contact us for a free case review and get America’s largest personal injury firm in your corner today.
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