Employment Law

These laws can be quite complicated and present potential traps for the unwary. Employees and employers need to have a sound grasp of their rights and obligations. Domenic A. Bellisario, Attorney at Law gets clients the results their looking for. Let us help you navigate the process of sexual harassment, discrimination, wage, or exempt vs. non-exempt cases. If you need representation regarding workplace law in Pittsburgh, PA, call for a free, no obligation consultation.

Discrimination Cases

Major Non-Discrimination Statues:

• The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination on account of age over the age of 40.
• Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on account of handicap or disability.
• Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on account of race, religion, national origin, and sex, including sexual harassment.

Impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 on discrimination cases:

The Civil Rights Act of 1991 (CRA of 1991), contains a patchwork of provisions affecting the rights and remedies under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), as well as Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Attorney's Fees Awards Act of 1976, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. The Act addresses topics such as compensatory and punitive damages, jury trials, disparate impact cases, business necessity, expert witness fees, challenges to settlements, mixed motive cases, and interest and filing time in suits against the federal government.

Caps on damages:

CRA of 1991 provides for a sliding scale of upper limits or caps on the combined amount of compensatory and punitive damages based on the number of employees employed by the employer. The limitations are:
• 15-100 employees: $ 50,000.
• 101 to 200 employees: $100,000.
• 201 to 500 employees: $200,000.
• 501 employees or more: $300,000.
In determining into which bracket an employer falls, the employer must have the applicable number of employees within the given range in each of 20 or more weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

Wage and Hours Laws

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law which establishes the requirements to pay employees the minimum wage, as well as overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. The Supreme Court ruled that any time an employee spent in a plant, after punching in, is compensated time.

The Portal-to-Portal Act looked to an employee's principal activity, thereby relieving employers from liability for paying for any time before and after the employee's principal activity unless there is a contract, custom, or practice requiring pay for these "preliminary and postliminary" activities. The Act specifically excluded "walking, riding, or traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the principal activity or activities which such employee is employed to perform" from compensated time.

Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) contains a number of statutory exemptions that render its standards inapplicable to particular groups or workers. Some exemptions completely suspend both minimum wage and overtime provisions from effect for that group of workers. Others only affect overtime provisions, and let stand minimum wage requirements. Still others provide overtime exemptions during limited parts of the year.