Chicago Employment Lawyers
Werman Salas P.C. strives to provide the best client experience possible. We can help if you are owed overtime pay or other wages, are wrongly classified as an independent contractor, have been subjected to sex, race, age or pay discrimination, have unlawfully been denied Family Medical Leave, or have other employment disputes. If you are looking to find employment lawyers recognized as the “top” or “best” attorneys to represent you, we are your law firm. We are nationally known for our innovative approach to individual, collective or class action lawsuits for owed overtime pay, minimum wages, and other compensation. In addition to lawsuits for owed minimum wages and overtime pay for employees and independent contractors, and cases under Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), we are highly experienced representing employees in lawsuits claiming discrimination on account of race, age, sex, disability, and religion. A special focus of our practice is representing female employees who are victims of sexual harassment and unequal pay because of their sex.
Unpaid Minimum Wages and Overtime Pay – Most workers in the United States are covered under federal or state laws requiring the payment of minimum wages and overtime pay. Common ways that employers violate the FLSA include:
1. Giving employees important sounding titles such as “assistant manager” in order to claim that they are not entitled to overtime pay;
2. Claiming that because an employee is paid a salary, he or she is not entitled to overtime pay. Many salaried employees still must be paid overtime pay;
3. Paying straight-time for all hours worked. If an employee is paid on an hourly basis, in virtually all circumstances, they must be paid overtime pay;
4. Failing to count all work time in computing overtime pay, such as not including travel time between jobs or time spent performing pre-shift or post-shift duties; or by requiring employees to work “off the clock;”
5. Utilizing time clocks that “round down” time in 15-minute increments or that is otherwise solely favorable to the employer;
6. Splitting checks and hours worked in the same week between different “employers” to make it appear the employee did not work more than 40 hours for a single employer;
7. Using illegal averaging techniques to avoid paying correct overtime wages, such as paying employees overtime on the basis of 80 hours every two weeks as opposed to 40 hours in an individual work-week;
8. Excluding certain payments from the regular rate for overtime purposes, such as bonus and commission payments, thereby resulting in the employer paying the employee overtime wages based on an incorrectly low regular rate of pay.
The only workers who are not entitled to overtime pay are those workers who the employer can prove fit within one of the few exemptions to the FLSA. In addition, many state laws that provide extra protection and benefits to employees. Some state laws require employers to pay overtime wages to employees who are not otherwise protected by the FLSA. Certain states also require that employers pay minimum wages overtime rates that are higher than the federal wage rate. Learn More.
Tipped Employees – If you work for tips and are paid the “server wage,” an hourly rate less than the full minimum wage, you may be the victim of illegal wage theft. We have recovered tens of millions in owed wages and compensation for restaurant servers, bartenders, dancers, and other tipped employees. You may be owed money for violations of federal and state tip credit laws if your employer:
1. Makes you be in a tip pool or tip share with managers or other employees who rarely interact with customers;
2. Retains or keeps any part of your tips;
3. Makes you pay for uniforms, customer walkouts, cash shortages, broken glasses, excessive credit card fees, or security expenses;
4. Requires you to perform work unrelated to your tipped job – like cleaning bathrooms, preparing food, or mopping floors – or requires you to spend more than 20% of your time on non-tipped “side work”;
5. Fails to pay you the minimum federal, state, or Chicago hourly wage in addition to your tips; or
6. Makes you attend meetings, perform training, or do other work without being clocked in (“off the clock” work).
It is also common for employers to illegally pay overtime to tipped employees at the wrong hourly rate of pay. Tipped employees must be paid overtime calculated at one and half times the full applicable minimum wage, minus the tip credit. But many employers illegally pay overtime at one and one half time the sub-minimum tip credit wage rate. Learn More.
Family Medical Leave Act Claims – Under federal law, your employer may be required to give you 12 weeks of unpaid leave, continue your group health insurance, and hold your job open until you return to work. You are protected by the Family Medical Leave Act if you have worked for your employer for at least one year, worked at least 1,250 hours in the last year, and worked for a company that employs at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the location where you work.
The FMLA requires your employer to give you up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that group health benefits be maintained during the leave. The FMLA requires employers of 50 or more employees to give up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious illness of the employee or an immediate family member, like a spouse, child or parent. Learn More.
Discrimination and Harassment – Employees have the right to a workplace free from discrimination because of their race, age, sex, religion, and disability. We sue employers who turn a blind eye to harassment and discrimination to ensure your rights are protected. Workplace sexual harassment is a special focus of our practice. Sex harassment takes many forms and can be committed by co-workers, customers, and supervisors. If you have experienced any of the following at work, you may have a sexual harassment claim:
- sexual touching,
- sexual jokes or comments,
- requests for sexual favors,
- conditioning pay or promotion on sexual favors,
- unwanted flirting,
- persistent requests for dates,
- invasive questions about sexual history or preferences.
Our lawyers have experience using federal, state, and local laws to help protect your job, your hard-earned wages, and your dignity. We hold harassers accountable. Also, being a woman cannot determine your pay. Federal and state laws prohibit employers from paying you less based on sex. Pay discrimination can take many forms, including:
- inequitable base pay,
- exclusion from sex-specific meetings or networking opportunities,
- limited access to customers,
- leads, and projects,
- sex-specific advancement programs,
- restricted access to non-competitive promotion opportunities.
If you are performing the same or substantially similar job duties as someone of the opposite sex under similar working conditions and you are being paid less, you may have an equal pay claim. If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, or if you have been paid less because of your sex, you have a limited amount of time to report and preserve your claims. It’s important to take action quickly. Learn More.
Government Employment – If you are employed by a local or state government, or an agency of the federal government, and have been not been paid all your overtime or premium compensation, we can help. Government employers often misapply the overtime laws to its employees. Our attorneys are highly experienced in representing local, state and federal employees, including police, fire protection, and other first responders.
We also have substantial experience in representing federal employees from forestry service employees to Air Marshals seeking overtime pay in cases under the Fair Labor Standards Act and OPM regulations. We are admitted to practice in the Federal Court of Claims in Washington D.C. Our government overtime lawyers have extensive knowledge of the federal OPM regulations and other state and federal laws governing the payment of wages to government employees. Learn More.
Whistleblower Actions – Is your employer committing fraud and you want to stop it? We can help you be a whistleblower. Or did you do what’s right at work and then got punished for it? We can help you get compensated for unlawful retaliation. If you have first-hand knowledge that your employer has committed fraud or engaged in illegal conduct – or is about to do so – contact us today to learn if you can become a whistleblower. Learn More.
Employee Disputes and Negotiation – Our lawyers will help you negotiate an employment contract that protects your rights, or negotiate increased severance pay in the event you are terminated from employment. If you need help in the areas of severance payments, enhanced job benefits, and improved working arrangements, contact one of our employment lawyers. Learn More.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act – Unwanted cell phone calls or text messages from advertisers are not just annoying, they are often illegal. Under federal law, you may be owed $500 to $1,500 for each illegal call or text message you receive. Contact our Chicago TCPA lawyers if without getting your written consent: (1) a telemarketer calls your cell phone with an auto-dialer or prerecorded voice message (a robocall); (2) without your consent, a business sends you a text message; (3) a telemarketer calls you before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.; or (4) a telemarketer calls you after you have added yourself to the National Do Not Call List. Learn More.