Can a Worker bring a Claim If He or She Has Signed an Employment Contract with Their Employer?
Interviewer: Last question, do most of these people have an employment contract? What if they don’t? What if they are working somewhere, but there’s not agreement that spells out what they’re supposed to do, and states their wage? What happens there?
Workers That Have Employment Contracts Are Still Entitled to Rights Afforded by the Fair Labor Standards Act
Michael: Yes. Very typically, for the most part, none of our clients have employment agreements, but an employee does not need an employment agreement in order to get his right under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
An Employment Contract Cannot Prohibit an Employee from Earning Overtime Pay
So regardless of whether there’s a contract or not, our clients are typically entitled to all of the rights that are conveyed to them under the Act. In addition, and employment agreement would not even be valid if it somehow prevented an employee from getting overtime benefits. That’s not something that can just be contracted away. It’s a right that everybody has provided they’re not exempt to get overtime.
Interviewer: If someone’s working in Manhattan, obviously you can handle their case, but what’s the radius of the areas that you handle geographically?
Attorney Samuel’s Firm Works in Numerous States, Including New York, New Jersey and Michigan
Michael: We handle many cases in the New York federal court and state courts. We handle cases in New Jersey. We’re actually handling a very big case in Michigan right now against a very large employer, against a nationwide employer, and we’re lead counsel on that case. Our geographical area is not just limited to New York and New Jersey but to other states such as Michigan. We have the ability to handle cases just about anywhere in the country.
We can work with local counsel. If it warrants it, we could bring a case anywhere.
Interviewer: Is there anything else on this subject that’s important that I should have asked you but I didn’t?
The Motor Carriers Act Exempts Some Workers from Overtime Compensation
Michael: I can go over a number of more exemptions. For example, there is an exemption called the Motor Carrier Act, which means people that are either they’re drivers or drivers’ helpers for large trucks that drive interstate or handle objects that move interstate.
Those types of workers are typically exempt from overtime, so somebody that works on a moving truck that either drives a moving truck or is a driver’s helper on a moving truck that might go from New York to New Jersey would be exempt from overtime based on the Motor Carrier Act. There are a number of other exemptions, which I can certainly fill in.
Interviewer: You have mentioned the blue collar workers bring claims but do you ever do executive compensation problems or Wall Street people? Do they have these issues at all or different issues that are employment related?
Highly Compensated Workers Earning $100,000 or More Are Not Entitled to Overtime Compensation
Michael: Wall Street employees would typically be exempt under the Highly Compensated exemption. I believe the figure is 100,000, so if somebody is making over $100,000 dollars, they would not be entitled to overtime benefits. Typically, we don’t see Wall Street people or professionals coming in to make claims.
We do see sometimes people that work inside of a law firm, such as the secretary, bringing a claim against his or her employer, or people that work in a doctor’s office bringing a claim against their employer. In addition to blue collar workers that I mentioned earlier, there are also these people that work inside of professional offices that can bring claims.