Utah's state government has created laws to protect employees from being taken advantage of by employers. For instance, the laws protect employees illegal discrimination, unsafe workplaces, and too-low wages.
What Constitutes Part- or Full-Time Employment in Utah?
Since there are not any laws in Utah about how many hours you have to work to be a full-or part-time employee, who is a full-time employee is up to the company. Your employer is the one you have to check with to find out if you are a full-time employee or not.
What Is Utah’s Minimum Wage?
Utah’s minimum wage law copies the federal minimum wage law. The rate is $7.25 per hour. For employees who are under 20 years old and are still within the 90-day training period, the rate is $4.25 per hour. Tipped employees make $2.13 per hour.
Utah does not have its own laws on overtime, and, instead, it follows the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA). This federal law requires that any hours worked over 40 hours per week should be paid at 1 and ½ times the usual rate. Utah also does not have any limits on mandatory overtime. Since there are no limits on overtime, an employer can force an employee to work as many hours as they request.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), everyone has to have health insurance. Not all employers are required to provide health insurance, but it is required of larger companies that operate in more than one state and have over 50 full-time employees. If a company has 25 or less employees, the company can get a tax-break for providing insurance.
The ACA has essential health benefits that must be offered, such as access to ambulances, prescription drug coverage, and ER services. Utah also has mandatory required benefits for insurance. Those include coverage for mental health benefits, diabetes coverage, and mastectomy coverage, to name a few.
According to federal laws, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee based on race, color, religion, sex, citizenship status, age, national origin, disability, or genetic information. In Utah age discrimination only applies to those over 40. Utah also makes it illegal to discriminate based on sexuality, gender identity, AIDS/HIV status, or political and personal beliefs outside of work.
If your employer illegally discriminates against you, then you can file a complaint with the federal agency responsible for preventing discrimination, which is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Otherwise, you can file a complaint with Utah’s anti-discrimination agency, which is the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division. Your employer cannot fire you or punish you for starting a discrimination complaint against them.
If you end up not being able to reach a satisfactory conclusion by filing a complaint with an agency, then you have the right to sue your employer. If you go to federal court, then your damages are limited by the size of your company. However, if you sue in Utah state court, then your damages are not limited. An award in Utah state court may include reinstatement into your old job, back pay and benefits, costs, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees. If you win punitive damages, which are damages intended to punish your employer, worth over $20,000, then half of the punitive damages must go into a state fund.
If you are a military member, then, under both federal and Utah law, you can leave your job for active duty or training and have the right to return to that exact position. You cannot lose any benefits or seniority for leaving.
Outside of that, Utah employers with more than 50 full-time employees have to follow the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but only if they engage in interstate commerce. With FMLA, you can leave for up to 12 weeks for illness, pregnancy, childbirth, adoption, or taking care of a sick family member. While you are gone, your company cannot cut off your medical benefits. When you return, your company has to give you back your position.
Where Can I Find a Local Employment Lawyer to Help Me?
If you think you are being denied your basic rights and protections offered by your state's labor laws, you should reach out to a Utah employment lawyer. They can help enforce your employment rights and protections.