April 2009 Archives

April 24, 2009

Suit Alleges Discrimination and Wage and Hour Law Violations at Motel 6

Motel6-new logo.jpgWhile the hotel chain Motel 6 claims that they will "keep the light on" for its customers, it might be doing so at the expense of and without properly paying its employees.  That is what three employees of the Motel 6 chain in California have claimed in their lawsuit filed April 22, 2009.  In the complaint, the three employees allege that they were discriminated against and harassed, forced to skip breaks and work overtime without pay.  Specifically, the complaint stated that the motel is "understaffed to the point that employees were and are required to work through their rest and meal periods and are required to work, but are not paid, overtime."  A similar complaint was filed against the same hotel in December 2008 by four other employees with similar allegations against the hotel.

As the economic downturn continues, more and more employers will be laying off employees and relying on the remaining employees to cover the work.  Under Kentucky law, there are many protections for employees from unlawful employer practices. 

For Example:

No employer shall require any employee to work without a rest period of at least ten (10) minutes during each four (4) hours worked (except those employees who are under the Federal Railway Labor Act).  This rest period is in addition to the regularly scheduled lunch period.  Employers are also not allowed to take a reduction in pay for these rest and lunch periods. 

Many employers also are not allowed to employ an employee for a workweek longer than forty hours unless the employee receives compensation for their employment in excess of forty hours in a workweek at a rate of not less than one and one-half times the hourly rate employer.

It is important that you understand your rights as an employee.  For more information on Kentucky Wage and Hour Laws visit the Kentucky Department of Labor or contact a Wage and Hour attorney at Miller & Falkner.     

April 13, 2009

COBRA Benefits May Cost You Less Due to Stimulus Package

After losing a job, one of the primary concerns for many individuals is their loss of health insurance. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows workers and their families who lose their health benefits due to circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events, the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for a limited period of time. One main problem however for many individuals who have lost their job is how they are going to pay for this coverage as it is generally much more expensive than their health insurance premiums had been when they were employed.

recovery gov symbol.jpgThe American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009 provides a significant reduction in premium cost for COBRA to certain qualified individuals and also expanded eligibility for COBRA. Under the ARRA, individuals may be eligible to pay a reduced premium amount that is only 35% of the premium costs for your COBRA coverage for up to 9 months.

To qualify for this reduction the individual must be qualified for COBRA because they or their family member were involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009. If you qualify for this reduction but have already declined COBRA or elected COBRA but later discontinued it, you may have another opportunity to elect COBRA coverage and pay the reduced rate. For more information on COBRA and the ARRA's subsidies available, visit the Department of Labor's website