FREEDOM OF LIFE AND LIBERTY PUT US TO WORK

Employment Law Attorneys in Wilson, North Carolina

Before the Great Depression, a handful of states had begun to regulate workplace conditions, specifically minimum wages; however, for the most part, businesses nationwide were free to set their own standards for employment. The Great Depression, however, rang in the era of the New Deal by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the federal government began passing laws to regulate how businesses operate.

Perhaps the most significant of these actions was the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, which established the workweek at 40 hours within a seven-day period, a minimum wage that must be paid, an overtime requirement to pay workers time-and-a-half for every hour worked after 40, and standards for youth employment.

The next move was to establish a Department of Labor (DOL) to enforce the FLSA and to further expand its standards when necessary through regulations and adjustments in the minimum wage. In the decades following, the U.S. government has also passed legislation affecting safety and health in the workplace, outlawing discrimination and harassment at work, and providing various other protections and rights for employees.

States quickly followed suit. North Carolina today has its own laws regarding discrimination; minimum wage, overtime, and child labor; benefits; time off and leaves of absence; and safety and health.

If you feel you’ve been treated unfairly or denied your rights at work in or around Wilson, North Carolina, contact us at Lusby & Brooks, P.A. for legal help. Over the past decade, we have helped countless clients fight back against workplace wrongs and resolve their legal problems. We will listen to your story, investigate, and advise you of your best options.

Lusby & Brooks, P.A. proudly serves clients in Wilson and throughout North Carolina, including Wilmington, Fayetteville, Jacksonville, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Greensboro.

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Wage and Hour Laws

When it comes to wage and hour standards mandated in North Carolina, the state generally adheres to federal guidelines. The minimum wage, following the federal standard, is currently set at $7.25 an hour. Overtime must be paid when an employee works more than 40 hours a week.

When it comes to child labor, minors are prohibited from working in occupations declared to be hazardous by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL).

These occupations include work in confined spaces, where a fall or more than 10 feet could occur, where welding, brazing, or torch cutting takes place, or where toxic substances are used, among other prohibited work environments. Children 13 and younger cannot work except as newspaper delivery persons.

Health and Safety in the Workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970 established the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to create and enforce regulations concerning safety and health in the workplace. North Carolina is among the 20-plus states that administer OSHA standards on a local and state level. This is what is called having an OSHA-approved State Plan.

The Occupational Safety and Health Division of the NCDOL administers the State Plan, governing not only all private-sector employers but also public employers. The Division fields complaints from workers, completes inspections, and issues citations and compliance mandates.

Federal OSHA issues industry-specific standards for compliance across the nation, including in states with their own plans, but the federal agency also has what is called a General Duty Clause that covers every enterprise in the U.S. 

This clause states: “Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”

Anti-Discrimination,
Harassment, and Retaliation

Another landmark piece of federal legislation came in 1964 with the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the act regulates employers in the United States and prevents discrimination and harassment based on what it calls protected classes. The original list of protected classes includes race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

Subsequent laws and court interpretations have expanded the protected categories to include the disabled, veterans, pregnant individuals, and those 40 and older, including the expansion of gender identity and sexual orientation.

The Civil Rights Act was followed by the establishment of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which fields complaints from employees with an eye to enforcement and the redress of grievances.

According to the 1964 act, discrimination can occur during any aspect of the employment process – from advertising the job to interviewing prospective employees, to treating the workforce equitably, and to retaliation and even wrongful termination. Title VII, however, covers only those employers with 15 or more employees.

North Carolina has its own laws that mirror the Civil Rights Act and other pieces of federal legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

The Equal Employment Practices Act and the North Carolina Persons With Disabilities Protection Act prohibit employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against and harassing individuals based on protected characteristics that embrace all of the protected federal classes.

In addition, the Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) protects employees from adverse actions – demotion, denial of benefits, isolation, termination – for filing a complaint about a workplace condition or participating in an investigation of a complaint.

Employment Law Attorneys Serving
Wilson, North Carolina

If you feel your rights at work have been ignored, violated or that you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, or retaliation at work, contact us at Lusby & Brooks, P.A. immediately. Let us guide you through the process of asserting your rights under the law and receiving the protections due to you. We serve clients in Wilson, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Jacksonville, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Greensboro, North Carolina.