Under both State and Federal law, it is illegal to make employment decisions which are based upon the employee’s race, sex, religion, national origin, genetic information, or age, if over 40. Employers can be subjected to claims of compensatory damages for back pay and back benefits; injunctive relief, such as an order to re-employ; front pay, or payment for wages in the future, even if the employee is not re-employed; and, possibly even punitive damages and attorney’s fees.
The employee can, at no cost to the employee, make a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of alleged illegal discrimination under Federal law, which will almost always require a written response by the employer. Under Arkansas state law, there is no requirement of first making a claim through any administrative agency before pursuing a claim of alleged illegal discrimination in court. If you find yourself in this situation, please call us, we can help.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. While in principal the overtime pay requirement of the FLSA is very straightforward, requiring overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek, in practice it can be very complicated.
The FLSA generally divides workers into two classifications, exempt and non-exempt. Exempt workers are not subject to the overtime pay requirement of the FLSA, while non-exempt workers must be paid overtime pay. There are six basic tests to help determine whether an employee is either exempt or non-exempt, but each of those tests also have sub-tests and exceptions. Determining whether an employee is either exempt or non-exempt must be done on a case-by- case basis. We can help guide you through this complicated and difficult process.
It is also illegal to make an employment decision based upon the employee’s disability, if the employee can perform the essential job functions, either with or without a reasonable accommodation. Even at the pre-employment stage, certain questions can put the employer at risk of liability. The employer is also under certain affirmative duties if it knows that an employee has become disabled from performing the essential functions of his or her previous job. The Arkansas Civil Rights Act also has a similar counterpart to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act extends beyond employees and pertains to the myriad technical requirements of public access to facilities by members of the public who have disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Arkansas Civil Rights Act as they pertain to employer/employee relations, inevitably involves the interface between legal and medical questions and the balancing of the employer’s need to know versus the employee’s right to privacy. The answers to these questions are sometimes not obvious and at times appear to defy common sense. Please contact us to help you get through these complicated questions.