Other Specialties

Employment Overtime Claims

Michael B. Serling, P.C.’s employment and overtime claims practice has one goal only—to get workers the money they are entitled to for the work they have done. Do you believe your employer is violating your rights by misclassifying you, refusing to pay you overtime, making you work off-the-clock, or a similar violation of labor and employment laws? If so, you do not have to be afraid that your employer is going to retaliate against you for pursuing a claim. It is illegal for an employer to do so, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by contacting our law firm to learn your legal rights and options.

Time-and-a-Half for Overtime
The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires employers to compensate employees time-anda-half their normal rate of pay for all hours worked over the standard 40 hours per week.Employers frequently attempt to avoid this obligation by misclassifying an employee as exempt or having them perform work off-the-clock. It is also a violation of the FLSA for employers to give employees days off or time off to make it up to their employees for having to work unpaid overtime. If you qualify and you work overtime, you are entitled to time-and-a-half pay.

Overtime Pay for Salary or Flat-Rate Employees
An erroneous assumption is that employers are not obligated to give overtime pay to salaried or flat-rate workers. Sometimes, employers give their employees a salary when they should be classified as hourly workers. The FLSA does not just take salary/hourly into consideration, but rather the total amount an employee is getting paid. The FLSA also involves determining whether the employee’s job duties perform a management function, or involves independent decision-making. If an employee does not meet the federal requirements for “exempt” status, then they must be paid overtime.

Do Any of the Following Apply to You?
If the following apply to you, you may have a claim against your employer.
• I get paid hourly, but am not compensated time-and-a-half when I work 40+ hours per week.
• I am an hourly worker at my company, but I’ve never received overtime pay to my knowledge.
• There is work I have performed for my employer that I’ve never been compensated for.
• I am asked to perform job-related duties while off the clock.
• I get a salary (I’m not an hourly worker) but my job duties are similar to hourly employees.
• I’m paid a salary but I think my employer is doing that to avoid paying me overtime.
• I get paid a “day rate” or “per piece” or “per job” rate.
• My employer says I’m an “independent contractor,” but I’m treated just like an employee.
• I frequently work through my breaks, but that time is still subtracted from my paychecks.
• I have a non-overtime related claim against what I think is employer's wrongdoing.

If you answered “yes” to any of these, please call us right away for a no fee consultation.

Overdraft Charges

Overdraft fees aren’t life-threatening. But many consumers would be shocked at how checks can be re-ordered and processed at some banks and credit unions, disproportionately affecting minorities, younger people, and lower-income consumers. The fees can really rack up.

“It is a harmful practice that can make one overdraft turn into five, six, seven overdraft fees,” said Thaddeus King, an officer with the Pew Charitable Trusts’ consumer finance project.

Financially strapped consumers who overdraw checking accounts using their debit cards and checks can pay more than $400 a year in overdraft fees relating to ATM cards and debit cards, according to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Consumers must voluntarily sign up for overdraft coverage for point-of-sale purchases with a debit card or transactions using the ATM. But signing up — without understanding how fees can be triggered — often can drive up costs, consumer advocates say.

More than a dozen credit unions across the country — including two of Michigan’s largest credit unions, Advia Credit Union in Kalamazoo and United Federal Credit Union in St. Joseph — have been hit with lawsuits challenging whether their members have been misled about what can trigger overdraft fees.

Practices being challenged include:

  • Taking transactions out of the order they’re made. Some financial institutions have a policy of processing the highest payment, such as a mortgage, first before smaller debit card transactions. That can lead to more overdraft fees if you’re signed up for overdraft coverage and you use a debit card frequently, for example, for coffee, lunch or other small purchases.

  • Failing to properly disclose how “opt-in” practices can work. Simply put, things work a little differently with debit cards and many consumers still don’t know that. Consumers, for example, cannot be charged fees for overdrafts on ATM and most debit card transactions unless the consumer has agreed in advance to “opt-in” for such coverage.

  • Failing to explain how balances are calculated. Do customers or credit union members understand the terms for when an overdraft fee on a debit card could be triggered? Did the credit union disclose how balances are calculated and when transactions are viewed to be cleared?

“You’re unaware and you’re being deceived into what circumstances can put you into overdraft status,” said Philip J. Goodman, a Birmingham attorney and of counsel with the Michael B. Serling, P.C. Law Firm.

 Consumer advocates maintain that overdraft fees have turned into a “highly lucrative profit center” for some financial institutions.

Under federal regulations that went into effect in 2010, banks cannot charge overdraft fees for debit purchases and ATM withdrawals without a consumer’s earlier consent or without an “Opt-In.”

But quite often, when opening a checking account, a representative at the bank or credit union will put a piece of paper in front of a consumer to “Opt-In” for coverage relating to a debit card. Many consumers agree to such coverage because it seems sensible. Consumers often don’t want to be embarrassed by being turned down for a purchase if their account is running a tad short.

The digging into the numbers is likely to continue, along with the criticism of high fees and unexpected outrageous charges on some consumers who can least afford it.

To view the full story in the Detroit Free Press Visit: Credit Union Overdraft fees

Probate

There are instances where probate is needed in conjunction with asbestos lawsuits.  For example, if your loved one died of asbestos cancer, the cause of action continues to the family as a wrongful death claim.  In order to move forward in the process, a probate estate must first be opened in the probate court in the county where the individual lived at the time of their date of death.  A Personal Representative will be appointed by the probate court.  The Personal Representative will then be able to file the lawsuit for wrongful death in the circuit court.  

The Personal Representative is the person named in the decedent’s Last Will and Testament to serve in that role.  If the decedent had no will, the appointment is governed by Michigan law with priority first going to the surviving spouse.  If there is no spouse, then priority goes to the children.  In most cases, probate is usually commenced informally, without hearing, and unsupervised by the court.  If you need probate done in conjunction with your lawsuit, we will handle all of it for you.  We have tremendous experience in probate, handling hundreds of cases in probate courts around the State of Michigan.  It would be our pleasure to assist you in the probate process.  

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