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Happy 85th Birthday, FLSA!

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On June 25th, 1938 the Fair Labor Standards Act was born.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, commonly known as the FLSA, was first introduced in 1932 by Senator Hugo Black. After several years of resistance and revisions, a final version was passed into law on June 25, 1938.

The FLSA was designed to help workers by creating standards for minimum wage, overtime, recordkeeping, and youth employment. Then-president Franklin Roosevelt described it as the most important piece of New Deal legislation since the Social Security act of 1935.

Congress passed it for the purpose of eliminating working conditions that are unhealthy and unfair to workers, especially those with laborious jobs.

The landmark legislation has a number of unique components that were groundbreaking in 1938, but are now essential components of workplace life in the United States.

Broad definitions of “employers” and “employees”

As explained by Senator Black, its definition for who qualifies as an “employee” is “the broadest definition… ever… included in any one act.” Likewise, it rejects common law concepts of the employer relationship, which are primarily based on control, and holds any individuals or entities liable who “suffer or permit” an employee to work. This language derived from child labor laws that were designed to hold individuals liable even when they use middlemen to oversee the work completed.

Minimum Wages are Non-Negotiable

As another example, the FLSA makes the minimum wage laws entirely non-negotiable. A worker cannot say, “I understand minimum wage is $7.25, but I’m willing to work for $5.00 per hour.” The statute prohibits such an arrangement because it would have a negative effect on work conditions for all workers, not just the worker in question.

The creation of FLSA collective actions

Finally, the FLSA allows workers to band together to bring their claims on behalf of “themselves and other employees similarly situated.” While the original statute was modified in 1947 to add a requirement that each worker “opt in” to such an action, this provision still provides a hugely important protections for workers. If you and your co-workers are subject to pay policy that violate the FLSA, you can assert those claims together. There is power in numbers!

The list of important protections goes on. We at Biller & Kimble are experts in the FLSA. Even still, we find new and interesting tidbits within its provisions and the related regulations all the time! Looking closely at the FLSA is to take a look back through the history of workers’ rights in this country over the last 85 years. We are proud to enforce the FLSA and to protect the rights of hard-working Americans every day.

If you have questions about the FLSA, or your rights under it, give our office a call. If you have questions about your compensation, reach out to us for a free consultation.

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ADVERTISING ONLY: The information on this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Past results obtained by Biller & Kimble, LLC are no guarantee of future results. Each case or matter is different and must be judged on its own merits.