employment lawyer

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What do you get when you ask employees to work overtime, refuse to pay them beyond 40 hours and require them to make deliveries in their own personal vehicles? The answer: a lawsuit.

A bakery in Baltimore has been ordered to pay employees overtime for deliveries they made in their own cars beyond 40 hours per week. While the vehicles and overtime may not seem connected at first, the combination is what cinched the win for the workers.

Professional motor carriers that deliver goods, like Schmidt Baking Company, are generally exempt from laws requiring overtime payment for employees who work more than 40 hours per week. However, because the employees making deliveries drove their own small, passenger vehicles, the motor carrier exemption is waived. While the company does own and use larger tractor trailers for some deliveries, the employees in question say 70 to 90 percent of their deliveries were made in their own cars.

While no indication was given as to exactly how much affected employees would receive for the overtime they are owed, this is indeed a huge win for workers at Schmidt. We congratulate the workers for standing up for their rights and not backing down from a fight even when initial litigation did not go their way.

Overtime law can be confusing, especially for workers who believe their employers are looking out for their best interests. The reality is that they are most likely looking after their own bottom lines. If you or someone you love believe they are being taken advantage of by their employer, talk to a Virginia employment lawyer as soon as possible.

Unpaid Wage & Overtime Lawyers

If you believe that your employer has violated the law or failed to properly pay you your wages, our unpaid wage & overtime attorneys are here to help. Contact us to setup a free consultation to discuss your situation 877-544-5323.

The city of Chesapeake is facing allegations of discrimination from an African-American detective employed with the police department there. The detective has filed a lawsuit against the city of Chesapeake, the chief of police and three other officers.

The allegations stem from a 2015 incident, when the detective learned an internal investigation had been launched on his behalf. His undercover detective tactics were under scrutiny after police learned he had been sending angry text messages to an underage suspect.

The detective was reprimanded for his actions and was accused of failing to properly collect evidence. He also allegedly failed to document his hours properly and changed his schedule without authorization. The detective was transferred to a different department.

He argues he was treated unfairly, especially when compared to other white detectives who acted in a similar fashion. The captain, sergeant and lieutenant being sued are all white.

The detective says he has faced losses and emotional distress and is suing for compensatory and punitive damages. He has requested a trial by jury.

The city of Chesapeake insists no discrimination has occurred and argues that comparing his own actions to those of other white police officers is like comparing apples and oranges.

While it’s not clear whether this discrimination suit will be an open and shut case, we applaud the detective for standing up for himself legally. He remains employed by the city of Chesapeake. Many wait until after they’ve left a position to file a lawsuit.

If you’re treated unfairly in your place of work, don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to a Virginia employment lawyer today to begin exploring your legal options.

Have you been a Victim of Race/Color Discrimination?

Where you denied a  job opportunity because of your race? Are you being discriminated against because of the color of your skin? These are serious situations that should be dealt with accordingly.

With a Virginia employment attorney on your side, you know your rights will be protected at all times.

We trust our employers to have our best interests at heart, but when the budget is cut, even the most trustworthy manager can be pressured into altering time sheets. That’s what some Richmond mail carriers say happened to their hours at the post office.

47 Richmond mail carriers have filed a complaint against the U.S. Postal Service for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. These current and former employees say they were not paid for the overtime hours they worked, and records of their time was not kept accurately.

This complaint is similar to another filed last month. Both complaints cited budget cuts and stressed out supervisors as part of the reasoning behind the unpaid overtime. “On information and belief, supervisors are instructed and/or encouraged by management not to exceed certain labor cost thresholds and incentivized with bonuses for keeping overtime premium payments low,” the complaint read.

Workers say half hour lunch breaks were automatically deducted from their hours even if no lunch break was taken. They also say they are overworked – many times, employees can’t finish their route before their shift is officially over.

For many American workers, this kind of treatment sounds all too familiar. The postal service is just one of many employers who allegedly fail to compensate their workers fairly. For employees who are overworked, lunch breaks are often impossible – and staying late is almost a guarantee. Still, they face an uphill battle from employers who are hesitant to compensate these people for their work.

These two complaints may be just the beginning for the Richmond area postal service. With more and more folks coming forward, there’s hope that the supervisors there will alter their strategies. In the meantime, we encourage anyone with concerns about being paid fairly to reach out to our team.

Unpaid Wage & Overtime Lawyers

If you believe that your employer has violated the law or failed to properly pay you your wages, our unpaid wage & overtime attorneys are here to help. Contact us to setup a free consultation to discuss your situation 877-544-5323.

Popular ride sharing service Uber is under fire this week after a former employee blogged about the sexual harassment she experienced at the company. Former Attorney General Eric Holder has joined an independent investigation into the matter – an investigation ordered by none other than Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

The blog post that went viral this week details one female engineer’s experience while working at Uber. The nearly 3,000 word post discusses sexual harassment she faced starting from day one on her team. Her manager sought her out via instant message asking for sex. Though she took screenshots and reported the manager to human resources, the manager was not formally punished for his actions. The man was a high performer, the HR department claimed, and would only receive a warning. This was his first offense, they argued.

The female engineer was given two choices: she could leave the team and her area of expertise or face a poor performance review from the manager. She chose to transfer teams, but later left the company after experiencing more gender discrimination and retaliation. Before she left, she learned that she was far from the first woman harassed by the alleged “first offense” manager. He later left the company.

Tech companies like Uber pride themselves on being socially aware and ultra-modern, but this kind of treatment of women employees anything but.  It just goes to show that even the most contemporary of businesses can have very old school – and illegal – points of view on sexual harassment in the workplace.

Virginia Employment Lawyer

If you feel you have been a victim of sexual harassment discrimination, the first thing to do is report this to your supervisor and/or human resource department. From there, you will have a better understanding of how to move forward.

Remember, you also have the right to contact a Virginia employment attorney who can help protect your rights and decide if you are in position to take action.

If you’ve been curious to learn more about whistleblowers but have been too afraid to reach out for guidance, this is your guide.

 1.       Whistleblowing isn’t limited to one particular industry. Any time illegal activity takes place, workers can blow the whistle. That means healthcare fraud – like overbilling or improper coding – can be exposed. Government contractors, too, can sound the alarm. Whether you work in the private or the public sector, unethical behavior can be reported.
2.       The risks might seem to outweigh the benefits… Whistleblowers may face unfair, illegal retaliation for their actions. Even before an employee blows the whistle, managers may make threats to people thinking of sounding the alarm. Supervisors mistakenly believe they can scare their employees into silence. But termination, suspension and other common whistleblower consequences are all illegal.
3.       But the rewards will be worth while. The Whistleblower Reward Program, started by the SEC, offers a prize for those who sound the alarm. In 2016, an industry expert – someone outside of the company or government agency they reported – was awarded $700,000 in prize money for his actions. The U.S. government’s whistleblower programs make hundreds of rewards every year as an incentive to report illegal activity.
4.       Whistleblowers are protected by law. Congress passed the Whistleblower Protection Act in 1989, ensuring responsible, ethical employees are safe from retaliation from their superiors or colleagues. Unfortunately, illegal forms of retaliation like termination and hush money still occur all the time. This is when whistleblowers need help.
5.       Attorneys that specialize in whistleblower lawsuits can give you guidance and make sure you’re treated fairly. Those who are brave enough to reveal fraudulent or deceitful practices within their company should not be punished.  If you are aware of such practices within your company but have not come forward, you need guidance.  In both instances, you deserve the protection that the law affords you. Do not stand by and be bullied into silence by your company.

Whistleblower Protection Attorneys

Are you aware of illegal practices going on at your workplace, but are afraid of being retaliated against if you report them? Or maybe you have already reported illegal practices, and have been fired or demoted? If so, you may want to speak to an experienced whistleblower attorney.

There are federal laws in place that protect and reward whistleblowers that shed light on individuals or companies that are engaged in fraudulent activities. For more information visit our Whistleblower Protection page, or contact us to discuss your situation.

Papa John’s Franchisee Gets Jail Time

A wage violation is typically punished by fines and penalties, but this is not always the case. It is possible for a business owner to get jail time for not properly compensating their employees.

According to a recent news report, a New York business owner who owns nine Papa John’s franchises was sentenced to 60 days in jail, and must pay more than $500,000 in restitution for failing to pay wages under state law. This type of crime is usually a misdemeanor, however, the owner also pleaded guilty to falsifying business records which is a felony.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman added the following: “Wage theft is a crime and a Papa John’s franchisee is now going to jail for cheating his employees and trying to cover it up.”

The investigation showed that employees regularly worked more than 40 hours per week, but were not paid overtime. Instead, they were only being paid straight time.

To make matters worse, the business owner attempted a cover up by creating a fictitious employees and recording the overtime under those names.

The Wages and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Wages and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal act that regulates the wages and hours of employees.

A few reasons the FLSA is important include:

  • It establishes a minimum wage
  • Requires overtime for non-exempt employees
  • Prohibits forms of child labor
  • Prohibits unequal pay based on gender

Not Being Fairly Compensated? Contact Us.

If you believe that your employer has violated the law or failed to properly pay you your wages, our Virginia Employment Attorneys are here to help. Contact us to setup a consultation to discuss your situation. Call toll free 877-544-5323.

Tonya Mallory, the former CEO of Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc., is being sued by the federal government for her alleged participation in a “kickback scheme.” According to the government, the company defrauded health insurance programs.

According to sources, the woman is one of five defendants named in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in South Carolina.

Four months ago, the federal government unsealed whistleblower complaints against Mallory, the company, and several others.

The company itself is not involved with the most recent lawsuit due to the fact that it agreed to pay the government a hefty sum to settle the allegations. In the settlement, HDL admitted to making mistakes.

A company statement noted the following:

“So, while many of our competitors remain subject to that investigation, we are pleased to have put this matter in our rear view mirror.”

Since Mallory did not settle in April, like HDL, she is now faced with a lawsuit involving the federal government.

Whistleblower Protection

Are you aware of illegal practices going on at your workplace, but are afraid of being retaliated against if you report them? Or maybe you have already reported illegal practices, and have been fired or demoted? If so, you may want to speak to an experienced whistleblower attorney.

There are federal laws in place that protect and reward whistleblowers that shed light on individuals or companies that are engaged in fraudulent activities. For more information visit our Whistleblower Protection page, or contact us to discuss your situation.

A new holiday recognizing whistleblowers has been proposed by the National Whistleblower Center. July 30, 1778 is the day the Continental Congress enacted the first whistleblower law – and the day proposed to honor whistleblowers each year. Senator Chuck Grassley recently convinced the Senate to pass a resolution urging on this celebration, but nothing has been made official yet.

The push for such a celebration comes after a series of high profile whistleblower cases in the public eye. Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning are just two such whistleblowers charged with leaking classified information in recent months. Of course, one person’s leaker or traitor is another’s whistleblower. In any case, we should be thankful for the sacrifices of such people willing to risk their reputation for exposing the truth.

The eighth annual Whistleblower Summit was recently held in Washington, D.C. to help honor the proposed July 30th celebration. Organized by the Make it Safe coalition, the summit provides a support network for those feeling isolated by their whistleblower status. It aims to change the public perception of whistleblowers from traitors to heroes. The summit also hopes to provide lobbying training to those who could assist in the passing of transparency legislation.

Though Whistleblower Appreciation Day has not yet been made official, its mission remains vital to our country and what it stands for. As the role of the whistleblower continues to evolve and change, it is important that we recognize the role they play in our corporations and government throughout the nation.

Whistleblower Protection Attorneys

We are experienced whistleblower attorneys and are here to help. For more information visit our Whistleblower Protection page, or contact us to discuss your situation 877-544-5323.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Children’s National Medical Center has agreed to pay $12.9 million to settle a false claims case.

The department alleges that the medical center inaccurately reported overhead costs on applications and cost reports, which were then used to calculate reimbursement rates to the Department of Health and Human Services. Furthermore, it is believed that the center misreported its available bed count, leading to additional payments from the Virginia and D.C. Medicaid programs, as well as Medicare.

According to reports, all claims resolved in the case remain allegations, as no liability was determined and the center did not admit fault. The Children’s National Medical Center has made it clear that the allegations had no impact on the level of patient care.

The CEO of Children’s National Medical Center added: “Consistent with our commitment to compliance and transparency, and with the full support of our board, we actively cooperated with the government to bring the matter to a prompt and responsible resolution.”

The settlement also brings an end to a whistleblower lawsuit from a former worker. He will receive approximately $2 million in recovered funds for his part in the case.

United Airlines Inc. has agreed to pay approximately $1 million to settle a federal disability lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to the lawsuit, the company’s competitive transfer policy was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law is in place to ensure that employers provide disabled employees or applicants with reasonable accommodation.

The United Airlines competitive transfer policy meant that disabled workers often times competed for vacant openings in order to continue their employment with the company.

United is set to pay $1,000,040.00 to a former group of disabled employees. Furthermore, the company will make changes to its ADA reassignment policy, provide regular reports to the EEOC, and train the appropriate employees in regards to the changes.

The EEOC first filed the lawsuit in June 2009. While there have been many roadblocks over the past six years, the case has finally been brought to a close.

Have you been a Victim of Disability Discrimination?

The law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee or applicant with a disability. However, the exception is if this will cause an undue hardship for the employer.

Disability discrimination is a major concern. If you have been discriminated against due to a disability, either as an employee or job applicant, you may want to contact a Virginia employment attorney. If you’d like to speak with our Virginia Employment Lawyers, call us at 877-544-5323 to setup a consultation.