State labor laws in Georgia protect workers’ rights within the state. Employees in Georgia should look carefully at their individual state rights. This will tell an employee what rights they have in regards to their employment and work environment. The laws of the state outline the procedures employees can use to protect these rights.
The Difference Between Part-time vs. Full-time in Georgia
In Georgia, there is no state law that determines how many hours an employee needs to work to be a full-time employee. Most companies will hold that 40 hours per week is full-time and less than that is part-time. Employees should reach out to their HR department to find out if they are considered full-time or part-time employees in the company.
Georgia’s state minimum wage is $5.15 per hour. However, state minimum wage cannot be lower than the federal minimum wage. So the federal minimum wage applies in Georgia and that is $7.25 per hour.
A common type of legal issue in this area is wage and hour claims. Some part-time employees can often have issues or disputes in the way that their hours are calculated. Similarly, they may have some complaints regarding their wage rate.
These types of complaints may often need legal action to resolve. If many employees are undergoing the same type of issues, a class action suit may sometimes follow, especially for very large companies. Discrimination against employees who are part-time status is also a common issue.
How Does Overtime Work in Georgia?
Georgia does not have its own overtime laws so it follows the Fair Labors Standards Act. It does not have any limits on mandatory overtime. So any employer can require that an employee work as many hours as they request. Any employee that works over 40 hours per week is owed overtime pay. So in Georgia you can calculate overtime pay as one and a half times the regular paid hourly rate.
In this area, one common legal issue is withholding overtime pay. As mentioned, employees who work over 40 hours per work need to be paid overtime rates after that. If the employer does not provide the overtime rate, they may be subject to legal liability.
In order to recover for employer violations of overtime wage rates, the employee must typically show that:
- A valid employer-employee relationship was in existence;
- The employee is not exempted from Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) requirements for overtime pay; and
- The employer did in fact fail to meet the FLSA overtime requirements.
Are there Required Employee Health Benefits in Georgia?
As of now, any employer that has more than 50 or more full-time employees must offer health insurance. This plan must cover at least 60% of typical health costs. But, these benefits are not owed to part-time employees.
It is important to note that the health insurance laws may be subject to change, and employees should consult with a local lawyer in case of any new laws that pass.
How to Handle Employment Discrimination in Georgia
If you have faced discrimination by an employer, you can file your complaint with either the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It is against the law in Georgia to punish an employee for filing a claim of discrimination.
If you are filing a claim, you have 180 days from the day the discrimination happened to file. You may also have to check your local city or county to see if there are local agencies you may have to file with first. If your case isn’t resolved by either of the commissions, you will be given a “right to sue” notice and you can then sue your employer for discrimination.
In Georgia, if you win you case you might be eligible for back pay, punitive damages and getting back any fees you paid your lawyer. Some common discrimination claims include:
- Civil Rights Act Violations: These include discrimination based on “protected categories” such as race, religion, national origin, and sex
- Pregnancy Discrimination: It is illegal to discriminate against an employee based on their pregnancy status, or based on other related aspects such as having a medical condition caused by the pregnancy or by child birth
- Age Discrimination: Some laws prohibit discrimination against people who are over 40 years old
- Americans with Disabilities Act: Employers cannot discriminate against persons with legally recognized discrimination. For instance, they cannot harass a person based on the disability, and they can be found legally liable if they fail to provide accommodations for their disabilities, such as a wheelchair ramp
Is there Paid Time-Off in Georgia?
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only covers employees that are employed by companies that have 50 or more employees and conduct business in multiple states.
Under FMLA an employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, medical and health benefits during that leave and the right to go back to their job when they return. FMLA applies to workers that have worked at least 1,250 hours over a 12-month period so it could possibly cover part-time employees.
Where Can I Find a Local Lawyer to Help Me?
If you think you are not getting the basic rights and protections offered by your state’s labor laws, then contact a local Georgia employment lawyer today. Your attorney can provide you with advice and guidance, and can represent you in court if you need to file a lawsuit.