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Questions Answered by Rhiannon Herbert
1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Washington on
Q: Is an "at-will" employee stipulation in a job offer letter bad?

Usually a decent job with benefits will offer you a different kind of contract right?

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Jun 1, 2021

Almost all positions are considered at-will. Regardless of whether your offer letter specifically states your position will be considered at-will, at-will employment status can be thought of as the "default" employment status that will apply even if the offer letter is silent on this.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Arizona on
Q: In Arizona, is it legal to make a server pay for unpaid bills from walk-outs?

In situations where it's not due to gross negligence nor is it intentional can servers be forced to pay? Assuming there is no written consent, when can servers be held financially responsible?

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Jun 1, 2021

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, it is unlawful for your employer to deduct unpaid bills from your pay (or otherwise reduce your pay) if this would result in your hourly wage falling below minimum wage. If your server hourly rate + tips does not equal at least your state's minimum wage per... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for South Carolina on
Q: My husband is currently on a medical leave of absence for a mental health problem and the company is saying

That they can only allow him to be off work for a certain amount of time due to this disability despite what the doctor wrote and how long the doctor needs him out of work for, is this considered a violation of the ADA?

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on May 26, 2021

The ADA entitles disabled employees to request reasonable accommodations for their disabilities, including leaves of absences to treat the symptoms of their disability. However, an accommodation request must be reasonable, and employers need not accept an accommodation request if they can prove it... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: can an employee legally waive their break if working six hours or more?

would my employer get in trouble if i waived my breaks? i work 8 hours a day in MA and prefer to not take breaks

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on May 26, 2021

Federal law does not require employers to offer any break periods to employees, so whether you are offered or take breaks does not give rise to any legal claim in and of itself. However, if you are told you must take breaks, then you can disciplined if you do not do so. In addition, while employers... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Indiana on
Q: I understand IN is an at-will employment state. Can an employer legally fire you to cover up a mistake made on their end

My spouse was an independent contractor for a RV transportation company. The opportunity came for my spouse to get involved in hotshot transportation. He brought the idea to the owner/manager of the company. The owner/manager agreed it was a good idea and approved my husband doing the work under... Read more »

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on May 18, 2021

Unfortunately, there is nothing inherently unlawful about your spouse's termination, since employees can be terminated for any reason or for no reason at all in at-will states. However, the one exception to this rule is if your spouse believes they were targeted for termination due to a... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Texas on
Q: Can an employer make you get a covid vaccine for employment consideration? Sounds discriminatory to me.
Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on May 18, 2021

Generally, the answer to this question is yes. However, there are two exceptions to this general rule. If you have a religious objection to receiving the vaccine, or if you suffer from a disability that renders you unable to receive the vaccine, you can request an exemption from this requirement as... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Nevada on
Q: Hair stylist friend fired without being told why she is being fired.

A friend of mine who is a hair stylist was recently fired from her job without being told why, she got COVID a few months back and when she returned everyone was mad at her and wanted her fired, she attempted per her boss to fix the issue and noone would talk to her, now she was given a notice is... Read more »

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on May 11, 2021

Unfortunately, employers are not required to provide a reason for termination in at-will employment states. However, if your friend suspects she was fired because she had COVID or for a discriminatory reason (i.e. based on race, sex, age, disability, or religion), then she should consult a Nevada... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights and Employment Law for Florida on
Q: I lodged a discrimination complaint about my manager and had received 2 discipline statements since. Retaliation? Or not
Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on May 11, 2021

In order to constitute retaliation, a complaint of discrimination must result in what's called an "adverse employment action." This is a legally defined term and includes such actions as termination, demotion, a cut in pay, or a transfer to a less favorable job. However, disciplinary... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for West Virginia on
Q: I have a layoff letter but my employer told unemployment I resigned

I am receiving unemployment for one year. Now my employer reported that I resigned. I received a layoff letter from them . They didn't pay my pto too.

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on May 4, 2021

If your employer is claiming you resigned to contest your unemployment claim, you should make sure your unemployment office gets a copy of your layoff letter and explain that you did not voluntarily resign. Whether you are entitled to your unused PTO upon termination is generally governed by... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Illinois on
Q: I have been hired as part-time but been asked to work 40 hours/week for 2 years without any benefits. Is that legal?
Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on May 4, 2021

Federal law does not require employers to offer benefits (such as insurance, retirement plan, PTO, etc.). However, federal law does require you to be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked, and overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a week (if you're paid by the hour). If... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Idaho on
Q: Can a company have different starting salaries based on age

My daughter was told that the reason she makes less than a new hire (having worked at her job for 3 years) is because she was hired as a HS junior and the new hire was a college freshman, and college students automatically start at a higher wage. She was then reprimanded for discussing salary with... Read more »

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on May 4, 2021

While this situation seems unfair, as long as your daughter is being paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked, then this policy is not unlawful. Employers have a wide degree of discretion regarding employees' pay, and while federal age discrimination laws exist, these laws only protect... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Louisiana on
Q: Are employers required to pay their hourly employees for days missed due to jury duty?
Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Apr 28, 2021

No. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are only required to pay their employees for the hours they work, and there is no obligation to offer paid time off for any reason. However, your employer may not discriminate or retaliate against you for taking time off work to serve on a jury.

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Colorado on
Q: Am I experiencing pregnancy discrimination when being forced to take a 60k pay cut or immediately take FMLA?

I am currently 6.5 months pregnant, and have been granted an accommodation by my workplace to complete my work remotely for the duration of my pregnancy. In January, during my first trimester, I started to experience severe motion sickness that limited my ability to complete my 45 minute drive to... Read more »

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Apr 28, 2021

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, people with disabilities (including pregnancy and related side effects) are permitted to request reasonable accommodations to enable them to perform their jobs while honoring their restrictions. However, the accommodation must be reasonable, and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Discrimination, Employment Law and Workers' Compensation for Illinois on
Q: Does salary non exempt allow employers to pay unfair/uneven wages for same job title and description

I have worked here for 5 years in QA department, have had many meetings with PM, HR and my manager about pay. They state merits are the same across the board, take it or leave it. On production floor they are hourly, have a top out rate on pay after 2 years(literally ppl after 2 years make more... Read more »

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Apr 21, 2021

While your situation seems unfair, the only federal laws governing the payment of wages are minimum wage and overtime laws (if you're paid by the hour and work over 40 hours per week). So, as long as your pay is at or above minimum wage, your employer's pay system is not unlawful.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Indiana on
Q: If a seasonal employee is kept on working after the business season ends are they entitled to overtime

I was hired as a seasonal employee for an amusement park last June. The park closed for the season in October but I have continued to work 40+ hours a week through the winter and am now working 50 hours a week and they say because I’m seasonal I am not entitled to time and a half for my hours... Read more »

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Apr 21, 2021

Whether you're entitled to overtime will depend on whether the amusement park is open year-round, and/or when the amusement park makes most of its money. Employees do not need to be paid overtime if their employer is an amusement or recreational establishment, and if the employer can... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: 40 hours each week at my job and then they told me I was only part time after almost a year. I received no benefits.

So my question is is that even legal? I missed out on extra holiday pay , after a year in my company you get 1 week paid vacation which I couldn’t get. I worked months straight with 40 hours a week and no one thought it was a problem that I was part time in the system. I just now started working... Read more »

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Apr 14, 2021

While your situation sounds unfair, there is no federal law that requires employers to offer their employees any benefits like paid time off. As long as you actually received pay for every hour you worked throughout your employment (and overtime for any hours worked over 40 in a week), then your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Maryland on
Q: can my employer force us and make it mandatory to get the covid vaccine or be fired

my job made it mandtatory to get the vaccine or lose your job...is that legal? can they do that?

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Apr 14, 2021

Generally, the answer to this question is yes. However, there are two main exceptions: (1) if you have a disability that renders you unable to receive the vaccine; or (2) if you have a religious objection to the vaccine. If you fall under one or both of these, then you are permitted to request an... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law on
Q: I was granted a paid leave from my supervisor employer misplaced the paperwork now they don't want to pay the leave

They misplaced my form now they say it's too late while it's their fault

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Apr 6, 2021

Your situation sounds frustrating, but there is no federal law that requires employers to offer paid time off of any kind. As long as you are paid for all the hours you are working, employers need not offer or provide paid time off.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Florida on
Q: Maternity leave benefit question.

I am working for the company that has maternity leave benefit. But when I requested maternity leave, they denied it and told me that I am actually working for different entity, and that entity doesn't have this benefit. I checked my W2 form and in there name of the company that has maternity... Read more »

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Apr 6, 2021

You can try pointing out the discrepancy in company names to HR; it's possible they just made a mistake when denying your application. If they still deny your claim, you can apply for FMLA leave to use for the birth of your child and recovery period if you have worked for your company at least... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Virginia on
Q: Is there anything I can do legally giving the situation below? Thank you in advance!

The owner gave me a conditional offer which I accepted, where the salary would increase after training period, the conditional terms were met during my performance review (which was excellent). At that time the owner stated they would not be honoring the initial agreement and another agreement was... Read more »

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Mar 30, 2021

This situation sounds unfair, but the only way your termination could be unlawful is if you were targeted for termination based on your race (or other protected trait like sex, disability, age, or religion). Offer letters are not contracts, and an employer's failure to give you a promised pay... Read more »

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