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Betts & Associates is committed to providing each of our clients with top quality legal representation and achieving successful outcomes for their cases. We specialize in representing individuals and businesses in all areas of complex civil litigation matters. Our firm provides legal services with skill, strength, and integrity to residents all over the state of Georgia.

Betts and Associates offer a wide range of skills in almost all areas of the legal practice. Our commitment to growing a wide range of more discrete practice areas allows us to better assess client needs and provide prompt and effective legal solutions. Our firm was founded on the belief in providing personal service and valuable legal counsel that addresses our client's needs creatively. After a decade, that has not changed. We ensure that every client's case is carefully handled every step of the way.

If you need advice about the best way to approach and resolve your case, consider Betts & Associates. To request a legal consultation, contact our office at 404-577-8888 to schedule an appointment. We are proud to provide personal service and practical solutions for those with even the most complex legal concerns.

Articles Posted in Employment Law

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This month the federal government issued new rules on how employers can stay within medical privacy laws, while offering workers financial incentives for employees participation in wellness programs.

The new rules came after provisions of the 2010 Affordable Care Actthat allowed U.S. employers to increase the rewards they offer to employees who participate in wellness programs were challenged in lawsuits, and a ruling by the EEOC that found requests for private medical information connected with incentive-based wellness programs violated the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

Do you have questions about your company’s incentives for participation in a wellness program and your protected medical information? At Betts & Associates we are ready to represent you in your employment law case. Just call our office in Atlanta at (404) 577-8888 or our office in Rome, GA at (706) 235-7575 to schedule an appointment.

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A review of more than 1.5 million workers compensation cases provides a snapshot of the most common claims nationwide.

Travelers, the largest workers compensation carrier in the United States, released a report on claims filed between 2010 and 2014, across a range of employers.

The top five injuries as a percentage of total claims:

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1. A quien le aplica la Ley de Compensacion de Trabajadores Lesionados?

• Todos empleados, incluyendo personas indocumentadas, que son lesionados en el trabajo o mientras que esté cumpliendo un requisito de su empleador (incluyendo manejando su vehiculo para cumplir con una orden del empleador).

• Todos empleadores con 3 o más empleados en el Estado de Georgia.

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Fraud & Deceit in Georgia: Employment Hopefuls Lured From Georgia By “Job,” Get Stranded In Missouri

WSB-TV and The Associated Press reported yesterday that dozens of workers had been scammed by a Georgia staffing agency through a Craigslist post promising two-year construction job positions in locations across the country. According to their stories, a new Marietta-based employment company called Everything Staffing assembled a group of prospective workers for subcontractor Black Sparta LLC on construction sites outside of Georgia. Black Sparta agreed to provide food, gas and lodging for all employees but when the workers started showing up for a job in Missouri, they were told they were no longer needed and forced to foot the bill. As a result, dozens of Georgians are stranded without hope and without the job they were promised; some do not have the means to make it back home to Georgia.

Everything Staffing intends to file a lawsuit against Black Sparta, but that won’t ease the immediate pain felt by these adventurous job seekers duped by what appeared to be a promising opportunity but turned out to be a fraud stranding these people in an unfamiliar city.

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Much of the 2012 Presidential Election has been focused on women’s issues. In particular both candidates alluded to the Lilly Ledbetter Act during the second Presidential debate at Hofstra University. But what are the terms and conditions of the Lily Ledbetter Act? And what sort of rights and protections does it give women in the workplace?

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in January 2009. The Act amends Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 to “clarify that a discriminatory compensation decision or practice that is unlawful under such Acts occurs each time compensation is paid pursuant to the discriminatory compensation decision or other practice.” In other words, any employee shall not be time barred from filing a law suit around unlawful discrimination as long as they file that suit within 180 days of the last paycheck where they believe such discrimination has, and continues, to occur.

This piece of legislation stemmed from the 2007 Supreme Court case, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. The plaintiff, Lilly Ledbetter, had worked for many years in Alabama as a production supervisor at a Goodyear tire plant and was paid less than her male counterparts who had identical job titles and responsibilities. Ledbetter sued Goodyear when she was about to retire, alleging that the company had based this pay disparity on gender discrimination.

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In recent years the federal government and many states have begun to crack down on business owners who misclassify their workers as “exempt employees” and/or “independent contractors.” Such misclassifications are illegal and an injustice to workers, particularly low-wage and immigrant workers, as it denies them basic rights afforded by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

One of principal benefits of the FLSA is that it requires employers to pay non-exempt employees at least the federal minimum wage and paid overtime (one and a half times your regular hourly rate of pay) for all hours worked in excess of forty (40) in a week.

When business owners misclassify their employees as being “exempt” then they can require them to work much longer hours for way less money since they do not have to pay overtime. Moreover, if they classify their workers as “independent contractors” they not only save money on overtime but also on contributions they would normally have to make to Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance (i.e., the payroll or withholding tax).

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The Americans With Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) and the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act (“ADAAA”) give protections for certain “qualified individuals” and ensures that they do not suffer job discrimination because of results of a disability or perceived disability.

The ADA also prohibits disability harassment and retaliation against you for complaining about disability discrimination or for participating in someone else’s disability discrimination case.

However, not all injuries, illnesses or even medically defined disabilities are covered by the ADA and the ADAAA. The ADA projects a specific class of individuals–qualified individuals with a disability. A qualified individual with a disability is an individual with any medical, physiological, or psychiatric condition that substantially limits a major life activity. If you have questions about whether you are covered by the ADA/ADAAA it’s a good idea to meet with an attorney at Betts & Associates to discuss your matter.

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Today the Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported that

“A former Chattahoochee Hills police lieutenant has filed a federal lawsuit against the…city, saying he was sexually harassed by the former city manager and then unfairly fired by the former police chief. The suit by James Melton accuses former City Manager Carol Wolfe of making repeated and unprovoked sexual advances toward him when he worked under her supervision.Melton also contends former Police Chief Damon Jones terminated him in September 2010 for refusing to lie in another police agency’s investigation of Jones in an unrelated case….

According to the suit, between December 2009 and September 2010, Wolfe approached Melton sexually in both professional and out-of-work settings and at one point invited him to stay with her in a room she had rented at Serenbe Farm House.

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Recently a federal law suit was filled by Orlando “O.J.” Concepcion. He was fired from his job with the Sandy Springs Police Office because of posts that he made on his personal Facebook page. He alleges that his termination was wrongful because he has a right to make private statements as a private citizen. Moreover, he claims that the termination was racially motivated because other officers were posting similar material and received no punishment or consequence. Mr. Concepcion is Hispanic and his fellow officers are White.

Termination for posts on Facebook is in the news a lot, but it is new territory for the courts. In the age of instant computer searches and the ability to capture communication with screen shots, employers are able to learn and document a lot about your out of work behavior. Whether this information is legal as grounds for termination is something that courts are still trying to address.

The ACLU believes that it should all be illegal. Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, has stated “You have a right to be bawdy and raucous in your private space. You have a right, but I’m going to be watching, and I don’t like what you’ve posted, and I’m going to use that in employment decisions’ — that’s (a) pretty clear (violation).”

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Record numbers of overtime complaints – filed by workers based on violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – are at an all time high. According to the FLSA, non-exempt workers are entitled to overtime wages in the amount of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for each hour worked over 40 hours in any one workweek. The problem is many workers who are entitled to overtime compensation are denied all of the pay they are entitled to – often due to their employer misclassifying them, either intentionally or mistakenly.
A common occurrence is misclassification when determining who is exempt and who non-exempt. It is a close call almost always. In many people’s case, being entitled to overtime pay can make a huge difference in his or her weekly take home pay. If there is a possibility that you could you may be entitled to additional compensation for overtime pay, it is absolutely necessary to consult with a top Georgia overtime pay attorney like Betts & Associates. The recent overtime pay article states that the number of FLSA cases has tripled, with over 7000 overtime violation lawsuits filed in 2011. In 2012 over 7064 cases have already been filed, making this year record breaking for certain. Confusion concerning overtime laws is why there are so many lawsuits and a struggling economy has more employers cutting corners than ever. Overtime violations hit low-wage workers even harder. The National Employment Law Project created a study stating, 77% of low-wage workers who reported working more than 40 hours in a week did not receive the overtime compensation they were entitled to. For workers who put in more than 10 hours a day, 93% of workers reported not receiving the required overtime pay. Overtime violations were not the only FLSA law broken, 21% of workers reported making less than the required minimum wage. According to the study, the average low pay employee loses out on $58 per week and $3,000 per year due to wage violations by employers. The federal government fortunately has started cracking down on employer wage violations. The Department of Labor is focusing on industries like: restaurants, hospitality, janitorial, health care and day care — where wage theft is believed to be run ramped. Over $224 million has been collected by the Department of Labor in the last fiscal year in back wages for more than 275,000 workers.
If you believe you have not received all the compensation you are entitled to, it’s important to contact an experienced Atlanta overtime compensation lawyer at Betts & Associates immediately.