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Michael F. Brown
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Michael Brown’s Answers

337 total


  • Am I entitled to overtime?

    I on average work 50 hours a week on one occasion I used 1hr of vacation. When I got my pay the remainingi 9 he's of overtime was just straight time. When i questioned that with my employer I was told that because I used that one hour that all of ...

    Michael’s Answer

    Are you generally paid overtime (1.5x rate) for weeks with 40+ hours? If so and this is a merely a one-paycheck problem, then it's probably not worth pursuing any wage rights and taking on associated risks. Many employers retaliate against (e.g. discharge) employees who pursue wage rights. Employers are not supposed to do this, but many do anyway. So I'd consider the risk of retaliation versus whatever potential wage benefit, which here may be relatively small. If you feel the potential benefits versus risks ARE worth it, then you should, before taking any action, consult in detail with an employee rights attorney. Such an attorney could, after taking with you in detail, advise whether or not you have wage rights worth pursuing, and could recommend a course of action that gives the best chance of success and lowest risk.

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  • Is it legal for a former employer to reduce my separation benefit by the amount paid out in overtime hours?

    Former employer gave sep. agree. on my last day of work. Review of doc indicated I would receive a separation benefit of $500 once I signed. However, once I saw that the non-disparagement section was not mutual between both parties and only protec...

    Michael’s Answer

    If @$500 total is acceptable to you, then I would not get hung up on the overtime. You could wind up paying an attorney FAR more than $250 (the approximate differential you're seeking here) to sort through these issues and try to recover more money. And it would be extremely unlikely an attorney would agree to a contingency (percentage-of-recovery-as-fee) arrangement to try to recover @$250. The most viable options I see are accepting what the employer is paying, or to try to get them to compromise.

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  • Is Target bonus considered as a part of annual salary for comparing with lca min wages?

    I am on H1b visa and my Base Pay is ~90k. There is also a 5k target bonus of which I get a percentage that can be less than, equal to or more that 100%. My lca states that the minimum wages for the job role is ~100k. I understand that the annual s...

    Michael’s Answer

    As some of my colleagues noted, a discretionary bonus will likely not satisfy H-1B regulatory wage requirements. However, before you take any sort of action about these wages (e.g. complain to the employer or to Dept. of Labor) you should consult directly, in detail, with a knowledgeable attorney. There are all sorts of risk factors involved with taking action to recover wages, and before you take action, you should learn from an attorney about potential pros and cons. In most situations that include facts like those you mention, the cons of a wage action outweigh the pros.

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  • My question is about overtime wages

    When working for a company is it required to work the full 8hrs a day in oder to be payed your overtime wages. Say that i work 14hrs one day then the next day i only work 6 but i've worked 8 hours every day before. What are my rights! Thank you!

    Michael’s Answer

    Overtime wages are determined on a per-week basis. For example, if you get a biweekly paycheck with 36 hours for week #1 and 42 hours for week #2, you should get paid at the 1.5x overtime rate for 2 hours (for the 2 hours over 40 during week #2).

    All this assumes you are overtime-eligible, which itself is a matter an attorney would need to review before saying you have potentially valid overtime wage rights.

    Another thing to consider: some employers retaliate against (e.g. discharge) employees who raise concerns about wages.

    Long story short, before you take any action concerning wages, you should talk in detail with an employee rights attorney. Many of us offer free phone consultations for wage matters.

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  • Can my employer pay me commission if it's higher than minimum wage?

    I'm a nonexempt employee and I get paid $10/hour or if I earn commissions, then I get paid commission (but not a wage) if the commissions amount to a value higher than my wages (including what I would have earned in overtime). Is this legal

    Michael’s Answer

    You would need to consult directly with an employee rights attorney, in detail, to get full answers and legal advice for your question. I personally deal with commissions and wage law disputes, and I could not evaluate your matter from the limited facts you present. I would need more information, for example, about any contract (or lack thereof) or commission plan document, your hours of work, the structure of payroll and how it's administered, some examples of pay checks/breakdowns, etc. Sometimes commissions arrangements violate State wage laws or Federal FLSA laws, depending on how the commissions are administered and other circumstances.

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  • My wages are based on commission.. My employer will only pay me on money he collects, not money I have produced. However, he

    will write off money I have produced & I have no say on this. He will use the write offs to file on his business taxes. Is this legal?

    Michael’s Answer

    You would need to consult directly with an employee rights lawyer, in detail, to get reliable answers and legal advice. There are many variables that would need to be discussed, including if you have a contract (or lack thereof), the payroll process, hours worked, etc. etc. Also, whether or not any law is violated, there is a whole separation discussion you should have with an attorney about a recommended course of action (if any), how to avoid any risks of retaliation by the employer, etc. There may well be legal options worth pursuing, but there's no way to diagnose that via this website.

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  • I, and several other sub-contractors were defrauded by a California corporation? What is the federal statute that we can sue for

    remuneration, and what is the statute of limitations thereunder?

    Michael’s Answer

    I have dealt with contractor issues across the U.S., and can say an attorney would need many more details about your matter before determining what laws, forums and deadlines may be involved. You should consider consulting directly with a litigation attorney whose practice includes contractor disputes. Also, keep in mind that potential legal fees and arrangements can vary a lot between attorneys, so if one attorney offers an hourly fee that seems too expensive, you should not assume that would be the case with attorneys generally. Some attorneys will offer contingency fees or other fee arrangements that share financial risk if the attorney evaluates the potential claims to have merit.

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  • Can my employer arbitrarily change my commission rate?

    I'm a 100% commissioned sales person with a bi-weekly draw Periodically I fall into a deficit but in the 15 years working for this employer I have always turned the deficit around in a matter of months. Can my employer reduce my draw as a r...

    Michael’s Answer

    You would need to consult directly with a WI-licensed employee rights attorney to get a reliable answer and legal advice. Among the things an attorney would need to know and discuss are (1) whether you have a contract (and if so, the attorney would need to review it); (2) more detail about the payroll cycle and process (e.g. draw rates, how income reconciled after draw, etc.); (3) the amounts actually paid to you, via the draw, and otherwise; (4) detail about your hours of work and job duties; and (5) more detail about your expenses incurred and the employer's reimbursement or lack thereof.

    In short, there are many issues that an employee rights attorney would need to analyze, a number of them being things you likely haven't considered. For example, sometimes an employer's commission arrangement violates overtime laws, and the commissioned worker wasn't even aware the law requires he be paid overtime. Other types of commission arrangements can violate various laws concerning contract, wages, and/or unlawful deductions.

    If you have a thorough discussion with an employee rights attorney, you should get a good sense of what options or leverage you may have with the employer. One big thing to consider is no matter how strong any potential legal rights may be, if you exercise them (as a worker currently employed by the employer), there is a risk the employer could retaliate by making work conditions even worse or firing you. Good to discuss details with an attorney in advance before taking action.

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  • I'm looking for a wage/labor/employment attorney with license to practice in both NJ and Florida. Time is of the essence.

    I've posted previously regarding being owed in excess of $200,000 by my former employer in NJ where I was employed as Director of Nursing & Executive Vice President of Clinical Ops. I haven't pursued the Labor Board as they advised they can only...

    Michael’s Answer

    An attorney's State(s) of license is often not critical for wage claims. For example, an attorney licensed in any State can practice in Federal courts (where wage cases often wind up) and I, as a WI-licensed attorney, have represented employment-case clients from NJ and FL, among many other States. From the issues you describe, the main initial impressions I have are: (1) there are likely numerous potential claims that could be viable (not only wage- related, but potential whistleblower, contract- and common law claims); and (2) the biggest potential risk factor, that I am inferring from loans and other info you reference, is this: CAN the employer pay you what is owed (after paying for a legal defense)? Many employee rights attorneys offer free phone consultations; you should talk directly with one and discuss the details.

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