Posts made in March, 2017

Employer misconduct: Dangerous Conditions and FLSA Violations

Employer misconduct: Dangerous Conditions and FLSA Violations

Despite the laws that require employers to ensure their employees of a healthy and safe work environment, office injuries still occur due to the reckless or negligent act of many employees and, sometimes, of employers themselves.

Office settings may be free of hazardous substances, sharp tools and heavy equipment, making these safer than construction sites; however, it should not be denied that even these work environments have their own types of dangers that can cause employees injuries. Though most are minor, some are serious enough, like sprain, electrocution, neck, head and/or back injuries, and repetitive strain injuries, which can damage the muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves.

One contributory factor to office injuries is overwork or being required by employers to work longer than their regular shift. This renders employees exhausted and sleepy, besides causing in them lack of needed rest. Worst than being required to work overtime, however, is being denied overtime pay for the extra time that they have rendered.

“A laborer is worth his wage.” This is the clear message of the the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which was passed into law in 1938. Also known as the Wages and Hours Bill, the FLSA covers all employees, whether full-time or part-time, and determines the minimum wage and rate of overtime pay.

According to Houston FLSA attorneys at Williams Kherkher, “The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) outlines rules employers must follow when paying employees. The FLSA defines what overtime pay is, when employees must be paid an overtime rate, and which employees are eligible for overtime. Unfortunately, many businesses in many different industries routinely make efforts to deny workers the overtime pay they are entitled to. There are various ways employers accomplish this, including but not limited to:

  • Misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime pay
  • Miscalculating hours worked,
  • Illegally requiring employees to perform tasks or travel “off the clock”.

Overtime pay, or payment for work rendered by employees in excess of their maximum daily or weekly work shift, is computed separately and given a higher value than regular time pay. Overtime pay is hard-earned money. Many American employees go through the sacrifice of giving up a part of their time for rest or family time to be able to take home a bit higher pay than the usual. For employees who need to send their kid/s to school or who need to pay child support, overtime pay is definitely very important as this can enable or help them accomplish a whole lot of other things for themselves and their kid/s. Thus, being cheated of overtime pay gives employees the legal right to pursue legal action which may help them recover back wages.

Though overtime work can augment an employee’s pay, rendering overtime often can have negatives effects too as this can affect his/her overall job performance and overall health. If health, specifically, is affected, an employee may be more prone to illnesses or injuries at work.

It is a good thing that in the event of sustaining a job-related injury or developing an occupational illness, employees can claim cash benefits from the Workers’ Compensation, a state-mandated Insurance program. As explained by Des Moines workers’ compensation attorneys at the LaMarca Law Group, PC, “Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, most workers who become injured while they are on the job are eligible to claim workers’ comp benefits, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. That being said, if your accident was caused by the negligence of your employer, you are likely to be eligible for immediate financial relief from their workers’ comp provider. However, if you are able to prove that your accident was caused by the gross negligence of your employer, it may also be possible to file a civil claim against your employer.”

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The Fastest Way for Russians and Other Foreign National to Obtain a U.S. Green Card for Themselves and Their Families

Through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, certain foreign nationals are given the opportunity to obtain a U.S. Green Card by investing in the U.S. Investment of $1 million is required of EB-5 visa applicants intending to create a new commercial enterprise in the U.S.; the required amount is $500,000 if the investment is to be made in a Regional Center, an organization that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has pre-approved for the purpose helping EB-5 investors meet the program’s requirement. Regardless of where the investment is made, the goal remains the same: preserve or create 10 full-time jobs for qualified American workers.

Foreign investors who wish to invest their $1 million in a new commercial enterprise must make sure that such enterprise was:

  • Established after Nov. 29, 1990, or
  • Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, and that it will be purchased and restructured to form it into a new commercial enterprise, and expand it so that its employees or net worth would increase 40% more than its original (size of employees or net worth).

Compared to investing in a Regional Center, many more investors prefer this second form of investment due to the following reasons:

  • Cost of investment in an EB-5 Regional Center is only $500,000;
  • Meeting the “create 10 jobs” requirement becomes the responsibility of the EB-5 Regional Center; success of meeting this requirement is also higher if investment is made with a Regional Center that is more stable and well; and,
  • With the Regional Center responsible in meeting the “create 10 jobs” requirement, the investor can busy himself or herself with other things, like attend a university or practice his or her real profession.

Compared to other employment-based visa programs, the EB-5 visa requirements are the easiest to satisfy; processing time is also guaranteed much faster. However, this program is not without risk, the greatest of which is the probability of failing to meet the “create 10 jobs” requirement. This makes it very important for the foreign national to really consider if investing in the U.S. is the best way he/she can obtain a Green Card for himself/herself and his/her family. An EB-5 visa attorney will be the right person to turn to regarding this important matter.

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