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Kansas City Missouri Employment Law Blog

Time tracking software enables digital wage theft

Missouri employees are entitled to compensation for work they complete. Employers may violate this through a form of workplace larceny known as wage theft. Although traditionally prevalent in the service industry, the popularity of time-tracking software makes digital wage theft possible in any industry or company.

Quartz at Work reports that wage theft occurs when an employee does not receive payment for work performed. This may happen when a manager or supervisor instructs subordinates to work off the clock. It can also take place if an employer does not pay overtime. Outdated legal regulations do not address many of today’s technology-related employment issues. As a result, workers must prove they worked without breaks or that the timekeeping method used by the employer results in underpayment. For employees paid an hourly wage, they may miss out on hundreds or thousands of dollars they legally earn every year.

Requirements for a quid pro quo sexual harassment claim

The workplace is where most Missouri adults spend the majority of each day. Moving up in an organization typically requires extra duties and new challenges. However, when it also includes an authority figure suggesting that a sexual favor can ensure the promotion, it becomes sexual harassment. At Thornberry Brown, LLC, our experienced team often represents clients pursuing harassment claims.

FindLaw reports that quid pro quo occurs when a manager or other individual in authority insinuates that a sexual favor could benefit your position. This could be a promotion, or it could be that by granting the favor, you will not lose your job. This type of situation could also occur during an interview for a job with an organization. Before filing a claim, it is essential to know that you must prove the following elements to a jury:

  • That you were an employee or applied for a job
  • An employment decision was dependent based on rejection or acceptance of the alleged sexual advances
  • Particular job benefits were a condition of accepting or rejecting the alleged conduct
  • The purported conduct harmed you
  • At the time of the incident, the alleged harasser was in a position of authority with the organization

Is it OK to touch co-workers?

Touch is a common aspect of human interaction. It can be problematic in the workplace however, as some people may find it inappropriate or intimidating in certain contexts. Psychology Today explains more about touch in the workplace and what all employees must know.

Many people reserve intimacy for people they are close with, and this does not always include co-workers. As a result, even a harmless touch of the shoulder or pat on the back can easily be misinterpreted. This is especially true in diverse workplaces where cultural differences abound. What might seem normal and harmless in one context can change drastically depending on a person’s background.

How do employees and independent contractors differ?

It’s important for workers in Missouri to understand classifications when it comes to employees and independent contractors. How you’re classified influences things like payment schedules and taxes, and it’s imperative that employers abide by the rules to remain in compliance with pertinent wage and hour laws.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, there are several criteria used to determine a business relationship. Hiring practices usually differ greatly between employees and independent contractors. An independent contractor is retained by a company to complete a task or assignment. This entails entering into a contract that specifies the extent of work and what’s required of the contractor.

How do you tell employers about sexual harassment?

When you encounter sexual harassment at your Missouri job, you may sometimes feel you cannot do anything about the situation. However, it is important for you to take action, and this means you need to know what you should do when someone sexually harasses you on the job. 

When a colleague or supervisor begins to sexually harass you, it is a good idea for you to deal with the situation immediately. Bustle.com says you should immediately begin a paper trail. It is a good idea to make sure this documentation is not saved on your work computer because you do not want a colleague to be able to delete this information. Instead, keep these files on your home computer. You should typically write down when someone said or behaved inappropriately, as well as what this person said or did. If your colleague or supervisor has sent you inappropriate emails, you should usually keep these. In some situations, you may seek therapy to help you deal with this workplace harassment. It is a good idea to make sure you have documentation about these therapy visits as well.  

Does my employer have to pay me at least minimum wage?

There are many people who complain about what they get paid. However, Missouri has a set minimum wage that states employers must at least pay you a certain amount. This offers some protection against low wages, but did you know that some employers do not have to abide by minimum wage laws?

The Department of Labor states the minimum wage for 2019 is $8.60 an hour. Your employer must pay you at least this much if required by law. If your employer is legally bound to pay you minimum wage and does not, you can file a complaint. Your employer could end up having to pay you the difference between what you made and what you should have made, along with your attorney fees. Your employer may also have to pay you twice the amount you were not paid.

How African American workers are covertly discriminated against

African American workers have faced racial hostility for a long time in our history. It is no secret the types of inhumane treatment this group has experienced in many ways. Unfortunately, the animosity towards a race continues to exist in the workplace, depending on those running and operating the company.

Well-qualified workers can be unfairly passed up for a job, a promotion, the better section of a restaurant when waiting tables, etc. The list goes on in how racism appears in the workplace. Racial discrimination is not always obvious. There are subtleties that African American workers need to be aware of when suspecting this type of workplace discrimination.

Common employer FMLA violations

The Family and Medical Leave Act protects employees’ jobs when they take extended time off for health reasons, either of their own or for family members. Enacted more than 25 years ago, businesses still often misstep when dealing with employee FMLA issues. At Thornberry Brown, LLC we have the expertise and experience assisting clients subjected to unlawful employment practices.

Bizfluent reports that businesses are often guilty of FMLA violations. Among the most common errors by organizations is the failure to inform you of your rights. There are many acceptable ways organizations can do so:

  • Directing you to a workplace poster
  • Handing you a printed fact from the U.S. Department of Labor’s website
  • Spending five minutes discussing the FMLA rules and requirements

What should I know about sexual harassment?

Missouri workplaces must strive to create an inclusive environment for all employees. Ensuring sexual harassment is properly addressed is just one component of this, as a hostile work environment can cause stress to employees and also result in serious legal consequences. In this case, Rainn.org offers the following information on what both workers and managers should know about sexual harassment.

There is no single form of sexual harassment. These behaviors can involve many different components, including asking for sexual favors, making jokes, unwanted advances, and touching or contact that takes on a sexual nature. Even talking about sexual situations in a place of work can be construed as harassment, which illustrates the importance of proper decorum. A person may also use smartphones or computers to disperse sexual images or video footage.

What are the laws for tipped workers in Missouri?

Servers in Missouri work hard for the money they earn, and many rely on tips as a large portion of their income. As a result, it’s imperative that employers follow all relevant wage and hour laws when paying workers. Minimum-Wage.org offers the following information to help tipped workers in Missouri understand their rights.

The minimum wage in Missouri is set at $8.60 per hour. However, workers earning tips can actually earn a lower wage, provided that the number of tips they earn equals or exceeds the state minimum wage. This means that tipped workers must be paid at least $4.30 per hour by their employer, with the rest of their income being made up of tips. Despite the number of tips earned, employers are not allowed to pay less than $8.60 per hour no matter the circumstances.

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