Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and benefits topics – whether it’s minimum wage, workers’ compensation laws, or employee pay – if properly handled, can help you retain workers and recruit new ones.

Use our advice to craft independent contractor agreements that keep independent contractors – and your bosses – happy.

The Equal Pay Act requires the same pay for women and men doing the same work under similar working conditions and requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility. But the law provides several ways for employers to defend pay disparities. Wage differences can be justified if they are based on a seniority or merit system, or vary depending on the quantity or quality of production.

If you want to create independent contractor relationships, get expert legal advice on how to structure the contract.

Almost everyone assumes that all employees are covered by the federal FLSA. But in some rare circumstances, employees in very small and distinctly local businesses may not be entitled to minimum wage or overtime. If the business does not earn at least $500,000 in gross annual revenue—the minimum for an entire enterprise to be covered by the FLSA—then some employees may not be covered either.

The EEOC is suing Amtrak for pay discrimination and retaliation, following allegations by a female HR manager at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station that the railroad underpaid her because she is a woman. She also claims Amtrak started excluding her from important meetings after she complained.
In 2004, state voters approved linking the minimum wage to inflation. All went well for a few years, but now a lawsuit says the state got the math wrong two years ago.

Under California law, all employees must receive regular wage statements. Employers that “inadvertently” fail to provide pay information might get away with it, but they shouldn’t count on it. Recently, the Court of Appeal of California considered the meaning of “inadvertently” and upheld penalties assessed against an employer that classified workers as independent contractors when they could not provide Social Security numbers.

Employers that pay new hires more than employees with the same or similar experience should be prepared to prove why they needed to sweeten the pot. Otherwise, they risk an Equal Pay Act lawsuit if it just so happens the hire is of the opposite sex as an incumbent.

A Manhattan bakery will fork over $436,000 in back pay, interest and liquidated damages to 27 employees as part of the resolution of a U.S. Department of Labor wage-and-hour lawsuit.

If you decide to pay new hires more than employees with similar or better qualifications, be prepared to prove why you needed to sweeten the pot. Otherwise, you could be risking an Equal Pay Act lawsuit if an incumbent belongs to a protected class.

How many contemporary employment law violations can you spot in this 1860s ad for the Pony Express?