John B. Gallagher, PA, is a Florida law firm that specializes in labor laws, especially as it pertains to the fair statutory minimum wage law. We believe everyone has a right to fair compensation for work performed no matter what industry he or she may be in. Hence, we specialize in the adult entertainment industry as the violations against exotic dancers can be rampant by their employers. But what exactly is the minimum wage law that employers are violating? John B. Gallagher, PA, will explain in this blog post.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM WAGE LAW?
There are two levels of minimum wage laws that affect workers in America today: federal minimum wage and state minimum wage. Let’s take a look at federal minimum wage first since it affects everyone.
FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE LAW AND WHY THE STATES GOT INVOLVED
Contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is currently $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. A minimum wage has been in effect since the first enacting of this law back in 1938 where President Franklin D Roosevelt set the federal minimum wage at $0.25/hour. Many states have minimum wage laws as well and the resident of that state is subject to both and the resident is also entitled to the higher of the two.
The purpose of the FLSA law at the time was to stop the sweatshops that often employed women and children at substandard wages that was a non-liveable wage. Furthermore, the conditions were deplorable, with long hours and unsanitary work environments.
Surprisingly, it was Australia who first proposed a standard minimum wage back in 1896 in response to their similar sweatshop problem. Frustrated by the slow pace of reform in the United States, it was the states who took the minimum wage cause up and began passing their own minimum wage laws — the first being the state of Massachusetts in 1912. Massachusetts established a state commission to recommend minimum wages for women and children. AT the time the bill passed, a textile strike in Lawrence was bringing national attention to the plight of these workers. As what usually happens when an injustice is exposed, people were appalled and demanded changes. Other states followed suit with 15 states having some sort of minimum wage law by 1923.
The federal government still made no move to enact any sort of labor laws. Hence, people began to take cases to the Supreme Court in hopes of garnering their support and forcing the federal government’s hand to no avail. In fact, the Supreme Court ruled the laws were unconstitutional, mainly because they were in contradiction to the ability of workers to freely negotiate their wages.
However, the issue kept coming before the Supreme Court who finally agreed in 1937 that minimum wage laws were, in fact, constitutional, in essence overturning its previous stance, paving the way for the enactment of the FLSA in 1938.
The FLSA does not step into the ways payment must be made or collection by the employee; however, some states may have laws that do so. Since 1949 the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division administers and enforces the federal minimum wage law.
If changes to the federal minimum wage wish to be made (usually by raising it), an amendment must pass both houses of Congress, which is why states have instituted their own minimum wage requirements.
As you can imagine over the course of 80 years and the changes in society, technology, and our lifestyles, lots of amendments have been made to the FLSA, the first being in 1940 to account for the different economies of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Other common amendments include extending who is covered under the law. For the first forty years or so, workers were slowly added who could have coverage and at different rates until 1977 when Congress set a uniform wage standard for all covered employees. In 1985, it was a Supreme Court decision that set the precedent for overtime wages at time and a half.
HOW THE MINIMUM WAGE LAWS ARE BEING VIOLATED IN THE ADULT ENTERTAINER INDUSTRY
The minimum wage laws apply to all employees in the United States with few exceptions. However, not everyone who works is an employee. Some people, such as those who are self-employed, are not employees. They are independent contractors.
WHAT’S AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR?
A loophole of sorts is the classification of workers, which is where employers hope to skirt the law, because no definitive definition exists (and probably never will) because of the variety of jobs available. However, the IRS and the federal government have guidelines for classification purposes. In general, an employee is someone who is paid regularly, works for one primary employer, and earns most of his or her living expenses from that employer. An independent contractors works for multiple employers, sets his or her own hours, and pays no employment taxes through his or her employer.
The benefits to the employer are substantial when only hiring contract workers. The employer’s taxes are significantly reduced as well as not having to offer any type of benefits to the workers. In conclusion, it’s much cheaper to hire a contract worker than an employee.
Hence, when strippers, exotic dancers, performers, and other adult entertainers are classified as independent contractors, the employer earns more money. To take it a step further, employers may even demand house fees and tip outs at the end of the night, rent money for the pole strippers “lease”, or even flat fees for every shift they work. Employers avoid paying minimum wage since independent contractors are employed for a certain job and get paid according to if the job is done or not.
In most cases, courts have found strippers or exotic entertainer should be classified as an employee. He or she earns the majority of his or her money from that one employer, the employer controls the shifts, pricing, and extensive rules for the entertainers.,. Furthermore, he or she performs a job that is vital the existence of the employer, which is another qualifying factor set forth by the IRS and the federal government for classification as an employee.
ARE YOUR FAIR STATUTORY MINIMUM WAGE RIGHTS BEING VIOLATED?
John B Gallagher, a labor law attorney in Florida, believes in the FLSA and state minimum wage laws, which say that everyone — regardless of the industry he or she is employed in — is entitled to a fair statutory minimum wage. If you believe your minimum wage rights have been violated, contact John B. Gallagher PA today. We’ll determine if, in fact, you’re rights have been violated and, if so, we’ll bring the full power of the FLSA against them in a court of law. We’ll make every effort to recover what you are owed (unpaid minimum wages, overtime, tips, and fees as well as other damages) without retaliation (the threat of being fired or any other adverse action) from your employer. Don’t allow your employer to determine your worth. We offer free, confidential consultations to determine your next steps. There is no obligation and, if we take on your case and lose, you don’t pay a penny. Contact attorney John B Gallagher today!