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Important Federal Employment Laws - Summary

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs:

  1. Minimum wage for covered employees for each hour worked
  2. Weekly overtime pay at one and one half times the regular hourly rate of pay for all hours exceeding forty (40) in a work week (unless one of the many exceptions apply)

It also makes retaliation unlawful; i.e., discharging or in any other manner discriminating against any employee because that employee filed a complaint regarding the above, or instituted a proceeding under the FLSA.

Acts related to FLSA

  • Portal-to-Portal Act
  • The Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947 was enacted as an amendment to the FLSA and was designed to clarify the law with respect to travel and related activities after and before a work day. It states that minimum wage and overtime are not a requirement for "traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the principal activity or activities which such employee is to perform" or for "activities which are preliminary to or postliminary to said principal activity or activities," unless there is a custom or contract to the contrary.

  • Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) is an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, prohibiting discrimination based on unequal pay between men & women in the same workplace for equal work. The jobs are not required to be identical, however, they must be deemed substantially equal. Employer may not remedy inequality in wages between men & women by reducing wages of either sex to equalize their pay. Further, any amount withheld in violation of this Act is deemed as unpaid minimum wages or unpaid overtime compensation. Note that Title VII also makes it illegal to discriminate based on sex in pay and benefits.

  • Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009
  • Congress enacted the Fair Pay Act ("FPA") to clarify that a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice is unlawful under: (1) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; (2) the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; (3) the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; or (4) the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, taking place everytime time there is discriminatory compensation decision or such other practice. Discrimination in compensation means "paying different wages or providing different benefits to similarly situated employees, or promoting one employee but not another to a more remunerative position as a result of discrimination."

  • The Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA)
  • This Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act applies to contractors who produce, assemble, handle, or ship goods under federal contracts. It protects employees on covered federal contracts by requiring they get paid the minimum federal wage for all hours worked as well as time and one half their regular rate of pay for overtime hours (over 40 in a workweek). The PCA applies to contractors whose contracts exceed $10,000 for the manufacturing or furnishing of materials, supplies, articles, or equipment to the U.S. government or the District of Columbia.

  • Davis-Bacon and Related Acts
  • The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, apply to those contractors and subcontractors that perform federally funded or assisted contracts exceeding $2,000 for the construction, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works. Under the Davis-Bacon Act, contractors & subcontractors must pay their employee laborers and mechanics no less than locally prevailing wages & fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area.

  • The Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA)
  • Administered by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the CWHSSA requires contractors & subcontractors with covered contracts to pay laborers & mechanics employed in performance of contracts one and one-half the basic rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. It applies to contractors & subcontractors with federal service contracts and federally funded and assisted construction contracts over $100,000.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits and makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the federal government. It also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because she or he complained about discrimination, participated in an employment discrimination investigation or a lawsuit, or filed a charge of discrimination. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified disabled individual who is an applicant or employee, unless it would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.

Civil Rights Act Of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 2000

Section 102 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 (Pub. L. 102-166) (CRA) amended the 1964 statute by adding a new section following section 1977 (42 U.S.C. 1981), that provides for recovery of compensatory and punitive damages in cases of intentional violations of Title VII, the ADA, and section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act. It also grants such victims the right to a jury trial. However, punitive damages are only available if the employee demonstrates that Employer engaged in a discriminatory practice with malice or reckless indifference of his or her federally protected rights. Recovery for punitive & compensatory damages depends on size of employer's business.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act Of 1978

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act Of 1978 amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to prohibit sex discrimination against a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. The Act also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because she complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit (this act should not be confused with pregnancy leave covered under FMLA).

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

(as amended by Civil Rights Act of 1991) makes it illegal to discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or gender/sex. Title VII also makes it illegal to retaliate because the person complained, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in a lawsuit or an employment discrimination investigation. Title VII charges must be filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act. In Florida, however, you may file Title VII charges within 300 days of the discriminatory act. When charges or complaints are filed after these time limits, you may lose your ability to obtain any remedy.

Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) [42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.] & ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA)

The Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) Act protects employees from (1) discrimination/harassment based on physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities, and (2) prohibits retaliation for taking action against such a violation. The Act also requires reasonable accommodations be provided unless doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer. The Act applies to job applications, hiring, advancement, discharge, compensation, training & other employment terms/conditions and protects third parties with close association to the disabled. Employer must employ minimum 15 employees (confirm) & a EEOC Charge must be filed.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects employees from (1) discrimination/harassment based on age and (2) prohibits retaliation for taking action against such harassment. Employees must be at least 40 years of age & employer must employ a minimum of 20 employees. It should be noted that the law disfavors waiver agreements and releases presented by employers to employees requesting waiver of these rights. Further, the Old Workers Benefits Protection Act has been enacted setting forth certain requirements such as providing 21 days consideration and other safeguards before allowing validation of such agreements. The filing of an EEOC Charge is required before filing an ADEA claim in a court of law.

Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 29 U.S.C. Chapter 28

This Act protects eligible employees of covered employers by requiring that eligible employees receive 12 workweeks of unpaid FMLA leave per a 12 month period, for specified conditions, after which the employee must be returned to the same or an equivalent position or job. Such specified conditions include birth or adoption of a child or a serious health condition to an employee or employee's family member. It should be noted that retaliation for taking action to remedy violations under this Law is also prohibited. To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must have worked for the employer for 12 months or longer, compiling 1,250 hours of service with that employer during the 12 months before seeking leave.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)

This Act provides employees with reemployment rights and protects them from discrimination and retaliation and offers other benefits, for having left work to perform military service. Remedies available under USERRA include liquidated damages in an amount equal to lost wages, and if the violations are willful, the penalties are stricter. Under USERRA, military members who leave their civilian jobs for service in the uniformed services are entitled to return to their jobs, with accrued seniority, provided they meet the law's eligibility criteria. USERRA applied to voluntary as well as involuntary service, in peacetime as well as wartime.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)

Under Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), it is illegal to discriminate any employees or applicants because of genetic information. The term genetic information includes information about an individual's genetic tests and the genetic test of an individual's family members, as well as information about the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an individual's family members (i.e. family medical history). Title II of GINA prohibits the use of genetic information in making employment decisions, restricts employers and other entities covered by Title II (employment agencies, labor organizations and joint labor-management training and apprenticeship programs – referred to as "covered entities") from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information, and strictly limits the disclosure of genetic information. The EEOC enforces Title II of GINA (dealing with genetic discrimination in employment). The Department of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury have responsibility for issuing regulations for Title I of GINA, which addresses the use of genetic information in health insurance.

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") in 1935 to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy. The NLRA guarantees the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively with their employers, and to engage in other protected concerted activity.

Contact Our Central Florda Employment Law Attorney

If you work within the Orlando, Tampa or anywhere within the Central Florida area and you believe you have a valid employment law matter to take care about, contact our highly experienced Florida employment lawyer today. Our Orlando and Tampa employment law attorney is very skilled and has helped many clients in the past with employment law-related matters. Call us today at (407) 205-2330 for a free evaluation of your case. You may also fill out the online form located at the top of this page and we will contact you shortly. We value your privacy and will keep all your information confidential.


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