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Question about Labor laws'

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  • Question about Labor laws'

    Over the past three years I have worked as a lifeguard for a small company that hosts fewer than 500 employees during the summer. I have a good relationship with them and have moved up to a Head Guard position this past summer, taking on more responsibility. As well as being a quality employee, I was interviewed by the Ohio Department of Labor and answered truthfully relating to payroll, overtime, and other common areas of confusion within the small business world.
    The Ohio Department of Labor is a division that is sent out to audit small companies to enforce labor laws. The auditors make sure that the companies employees are paid overtime, given breaks, have a safe working environment, and so on and so fourth. During my interview I understood the personal questions related to the company were designed to insure that the company is following regulatory laws as well as providing a safe work environment. During the end of my interview the interviewer asked me “What do you like most about this company”. I responded with “the bonus program”. This program rewards hard working employees after the season is over.
    This last summer we had a small dispute. A couple of my shifts were given away to a fellow employee in hopes of having me to work at another pool. I couldn’t so therefore I lost a few shifts. Because my manager gave away my shifts (without asking), I asked and wanted to make sure that I would still qualify for the bonus, as I was working towards it during the whole summer. My manager reassured me and said that I would still get my bonus.
    A month or two went by and I had yet to receive my bonus check. I decided I would call and check in with my manager. I was forwarded to the vice president of the company. I spoke with him and was waiting on him to talk to my manager, as my manager is the one who said I would still receive a bonus. The vice president said that he would contact me when he talked to my manager. A few weeks went by so I gave the company another call, a little angry at this point.
    After a long time in attempt of reaching my manager to get a final answer, I was told that I didn’t qualify for the bonus. I do only work during the summer, so I am a part time employee, but don’t you think a company shouldn’t tell you that you qualify for a bonus when it is clear you don’t?
    My questions about my situation are:
    1.) Would you say this is fair/ethical?
    2.) Is this completely legal (leading an employee on with the idea of a bonus)?
    3.) What are some regulatory laws that prevent companies from “cheating” their employees (in a money sense-payroll, bonus, overtime)?

    My interests of this post are to get a discussion covering the variety of labor laws present in America as well as how these laws are enforced. Also I would like to have an open-ended discussion of current/newer labor laws.

  • #2
    Since your interest is in a discussion rather than a question/answer, I have moved your post to a more appropriate forum.

    I'll start out by pointing out that "fair" is a very subjective concept, and the same action can be considered "fair" by one person and "unfair" by another, depending on how they are affected by that action. As a result, the law is not concerned with whether something is fair.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      Maybe legal. Maybe not legal. If we are talking about statutory labor law like FLSA only, that is mostly interested in requirments like minimum wage and overtime. You could file a small claims court action and that might work. You could talk to an attorney about a general court action, but you basically have to prove that the employer violated a contract.
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


      • #4
        Just because something is unfair doesn't mean it is always illegal.
        Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

        Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.


        The forum is intended for informational use only and should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for legal advice. The information contained on are opinions and suggestions of members and is not a representation of the opinions of does not warrant or vouch for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any postings or the qualifications of any person responding. Please consult a legal expert or seek the services of an attorney in your area for more accuracy on your specific situation.