A military contractor has paid $678,296 to compensate workers at a Tennessee munitions plant for unpaid wages, benefits and overtime according to a statement from the Department of Labor. The Iowa-based contractor operates the Milan Army Ammunition Plant in Gibson County as part of the military's Armament Retooling and Manufacturing Support Program. DOL investigators began scrutinizing the company after workers complained about unpaid overtime and denied benefits.
Minors who work in Tennessee are subject to child labor protections designed to keep young workers from being exploited. There are a number of exceptions to the law as well as prohibited occupations for people under the age of 18. Regulations also include various hour restrictions, especially for younger teens. For example, 14- and 15-year-olds may not work more than three hours a day or 18 hours a week when school is in session, even though they can work up to eight hours a day or 40 hours a week during school vacations.
The lawsuit filed by President Trump's long-time personal driver illustrates the problems that employees in Tennessee sometimes have getting paid for overtime. Court filings from the 59-year-old man described the Trump Organization's failure to pay him for 3,300 hours of overtime over the course of six years. He wants a settlement of about $200,000.
Since 1963, when the Equal Pay Act became law in the United States, employers in Tennessee have had a legal obligation to pay men and women the same amount of money for the same work. Reality has fallen far short of that goal. Women persistently earn lower pay than their male counterparts for the same jobs do, and the pay gap is even higher for African American, Latina and Native American women. The general counsel for the National Women's Law Center attributed the lower pay for minority women to the people running companies. They lack awareness of the issue and fail to enforce employment laws meant to counteract discrimination.
Employees in Tennessee and across the country may face an array of confusing problems related to proper payment for their hours worked. Unfortunately, many businesses try to cut corners and can avoid paying workers for time for which they should be compensated. Two April 2018 opinion letters from the Department of Labor attempt to clarify situations that have arisen for workers on the job that implicate the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
If you are working in Nashville and your employer asks you to work off the clock, he might be committing an illegal act. In fact, for most workers, it is against the law for them to work without pay, even if they choose to do so. Some employers convince their employees to work off the clock in order to avoid paying higher overtime rates. However, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) makes this illegal.
Some Tennessee women who work in STEM careers may have experienced on-the-job discrimination. A study by Pew Research Group found that half of women nationwide working in STEM jobs reported discrimination compared to 41 percent of women who were in other occupations. The study also found that women who had a postgraduate degree, worked with computers or worked in environments that were mostly male-dominated also were more likely to encounter discrimination.
Tennessee workers may be entitled to overtime pay under the terms of the Fair Labor Standards Act thanks to a federal court ruling. The ruling was made by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Tom Hughes and Desmond McDonald v. Gulf Interstate Field Services Inc. It involved two welders who each made more than $100,000 per year while working for Gulf Interstate in 2013 and 2014.
Workers in Tennessee could be missing out on significant income that they are owed if they are not receiving appropriate overtime, even if they already earn a high wage. One December 2017 U.S. Circuit Court ruling overturned a lower court to hold that two welding inspectors, each of whom earned over $100,000 each year, could be entitled to overtime pay under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Some Tennessee residents who work in what is known as the "gig economy" might actually be considered employees instead of independent contractors. In California, a lawsuit is underway in a federal court involving a man who was a driver for the company GrubHub for five months in 2015. The man says that as an employee, he was entitled to reimbursement for business expenses and overtime but that he was misclassified. GrubHub says that it simply connects drivers and customers with restaurants but is not an employer.