With the holidays taking place at the end of the calendar year, businesses are often in a mad dash to try to increase sales and close deals to hit annual performance targets. As a result, businesses may ask their employees to put in extra effort during the holiday season. But while seeking to boost productivity for an end-of-the-year push is fine, some employers cross over the line into committing labor law violations. Here are three ways employers can violate employee rights during the holidays.
Employers may look to extend business hours to boost sales or close as many deals or transactions as possible for the end of the year. Longer hours are especially common in the retail industry. While some businesses may hire temporary staff to help cover the longer hours, other employers will ask their workers to take on more hours. However, this may lead to a situation where workers end up working overtime. Non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek are entitled to overtime pay for all time over 40 hours worked in a workweek. While employers generally can require employees to work overtime, they must fairly compensate workers for the overtime pay they are entitled to under state and federal law. Under both Pennsylvania’s overtime law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, overtime pay should be one-and-a-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay.
If you are being asked to work overtime during the holidays, you should keep close track of your hours and your pay to ensure that your employer does not inadvertently or intentionally fail to pay you the overtime you are entitled to.
Holiday Pay Violations
In Pennsylvania, employers are not required to pay you anything extra on top of your regular rate of pay if you work on a recognized holiday, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, or New Year’s Day. Except for public employees, workers are also not entitled by law to have holidays off. Instead, holiday pay or vacation time is usually a matter of contract or policy between employers and employees. You should carefully review your employment contract or your employee handbook to confirm your employer’s policies regarding holiday pay (as some employers have an official policy of paying one-and-a-half times regular pay for hours worked on holidays) or whether you are entitled to a day off on holidays.
Harassment and Discrimination
Finally, the holiday season also can lead to the possibility of workplace harassment and discrimination. For example, harassment may include an employer requiring non-Christian or non-religious employees to work on Christmas Day based on the assumption that the employee does not “celebrate” that holiday. Assigning work shifts based on an employee’s religious beliefs likely constitutes unlawful discrimination. Similarly, requiring employees to work on holidays based on the fact that they are single or don’t have children may constitute discrimination on the basis of family status.
Holiday parties at the workplace are also a common opportunity for employers, managers, and co-workers to engage in sexual harassment and discrimination, especially those holiday parties involving alcohol.
Contact a Feasterville Employment Law and Overtime Lawyer to Discuss Your Pennsylvania Wage and Hour Case
Although Pennsylvania and federal labor laws are supposed to provide you with protection for your rights at work, it is not always easy to get the compensation, rights, and other benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable labor lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced labor attorneys at Begelman & Orlow represent clients in Feasterville, Levittown, Croydon, Bristol, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call 215-235-6020 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a consultation about your employment law case. We have an office conveniently located at 359 East Street Rd
Feasterville, PA 19053, as well as offices in Cherry Hill, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.