We receive a lot of questions from employees facing problems at work. We've put together this list of common questions that may assist you. However, every situation is unique. Contact us for a consultation to determine your rights.
Should I quit my job?
Not unless you’ve got another job lined up! This is a tough economy and generally speaking, finding a new job is easier when you already have one. From a legal perspective, it may be more difficult for us to help you if you voluntarily resign. Call us before you make a final decision.
I’m being bullied. What can I do about it?
Under state and federal law, not much. There is no federal or state law preventing or prohibiting bullying in the workplace. Check your employer’s policies, handbook, or manual to see if your employer has addressed this issue. If you believe the bullying is occurring because of your race, gender, national origin, or some other protected class (see below), give us a call.
I’m being harassed. What can I do about it?
Generally, harassment isn’t illegal. If you’re being harassed because of your race, age, sex, disability, color, national origin, religion, pregnancy, genetic information, objecting to an illegal practice of your employer, taking Family and Medical leave, serving jury duty, or some other legally protected category, then the situation you are in may be against the law. And that’s only if your employer meets the threshold level of number of employees to fall under the anti-discrimination laws. Contact us to determine your legal rights.
My employer isn’t giving me breaks. Is that allowed?
Yes. The law doesn’t require meal or rest breaks. If your employer provides you with breaks, great. If your employer doesn’t provide you with breaks, there’s not much you can do. Employers frequently provide breaks of short duration, typically lasting 5-20 minutes. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay you for these breaks. However, the FLSA does not require employers to pay you for meal breaks of longer than 30 minutes if you aren't required to do any work during that time. If you need breaks because of a needed accommodation for a medical condition or a disability, you may have a legal claim. Give us a call.
Can I record stuff at work?
Maybe. Georgia is a “one-party consent” state for purposes of recording conversations and events (audio, not video). If your employer has rules prohibiting recording conversations, you could be fired for doing so. Otherwise, Georgia law allows you to record conversations if you are a party to that conversation. (You can't record a conversation by "eavesdropping" - for example, by turning on a recorder and leaving the room.) The best practice is to follow your employer’s rules, policies, and procedures on this subject, but lawfully recording a conversation can be one of the most effective tools you have to protect your job and your rights.
My employer is forcing me to sign a non-compete agreement. What should I do?
Talk to an attorney before signing. The laws on non-competes in Georgia have recently changed, and it’s best to know all of your options before moving forward.
Should I be getting overtime?
The Fair Labor Standards Act exempts certain classes of employees from the overtime requirements. Many employers misclassify their employees and don’t pay them overtime when they should. Contact us to discuss your situation.
I was fired for reasons I think are unfair. What can I do?
Georgia is an employment “at will” state, but that doesn't mean your employer can fire you for any reason whatsoever. If you feel you were terminated because of discrimination based on a protected class or because you complained about a workplace practice you believe was unfair or illegal, contact us.
My employer is conducting an investigation – what are my rights?
Employers are entitled to (and may even be obligated) to investigate certain incidents in the workplace. If you do not cooperate, you could be putting your job on the line. Cooperate and tell the truth. If you’re a member of a union, you have the right to have a union representative present at any meeting that could result in you getting disciplined.
Does my employer have to tell me why I was fired?
Under Georgia law, employers must provide employees with a Separation Notice giving the reason for the separation, but sometimes they don't. If you decide to file for unemployment compensation benefits, give the Separation Notice to the Georgia Department of Labor, or tell the Department that you have not received the notice and they will contact your former employer.