ATC attorney Trinity Hundredmark was a guest contributor on HLN’s ”Raising America” on June 11, 2013. She commented on a variety of topics, including jury questions in the Jodi Arias trial, the Brett Seacat murder trial, and jury selection. Watch an excerpt here:
Archive for the ‘Georgia’ Tag
Recently, a client approached us after losing his job as a cashier at a convenience store. He contended that he had been terminated over religious differences with his boss and coworkers. Our client was Hindu and his coworkers Muslim. As a result, he felt that he was routinely given the worst tasks of all of the staff, and ultimately, that he was fired for complaining about the discriminatory treatment.
This client relied heavily on his steady income and was suffering from its sudden loss. We agreed to pursue a claim of wrongful discharge based on religious discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In preparing a complaint and computing the damages to the client resulting from the loss of his job, we asked him more about his lost earnings – what was his hourly rate? how many hours did he work in a typical week? It became Immediately apparent that, not only had the client been unlawfully terminated, but, working 60 – 80 hour weeks at a “straight time” rate of $10.00/hr, he had not been paid overtime (or “time and a half”) for all hours in excess of 40/week in accordance with his rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Suddenly, this client’s case became focused on the three years of unpaid overtime to which he was entitled – a clear, easily calculated claim which was not dependent upon proving the discriminatory mindset of the employer.
Once an overtime violation is alleged by an employee, the burden shifts to the employer to disprove the entitlement to overtime and/or back pay. For that reason, FLSA allegations are notoriously difficult to disprove, and such wage and hour claims allow the plaintiff to seek back pay, front pay, attorney’s fees and liquidated damages.
In our client’s case, the violations were so blatant (the pay records, of which our client had copies, clearly showed up to 80 hours of work per week paid at a straight time rate) and serious (thousands of hours of underpaid overtime), that the claim was settled within two weeks and before a complaint was even filed. The resulting settlement to our client was substantial.
Employers provide slam-dunk FLSA cases for disgruntled employees when they
- fail to pay 1.5x the “regular rate of pay” for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week;
- incorrectly calculate of “regular rate of pay” (which is more complicated than it sounds);
- use “comp time” in lieu of overtime;
- incorrectly classify employees as “exempt” (“exempt” means more than just “salaried and/or responsible”);
- make automatic deductions from pay for meals and breaks;
- permit, or require, “off the clock” work of any description;
- make deductions from pay for the cost of uniforms, damage to property, loss of property, violations of rules/policies;
- retaliate against an employee who complains of FLSA violations.
Employees who feel that their FLSA rights may have been violated should compile good records of their hours worked and pay received for the previous three years, before speaking to an employment lawyer. Employers should be proactive in consulting an employment lawyer to confirm they are complying with the FLSA.
Jim Joedecke, Liz Clack-Freeman and Eadaoin Waller represent both employees and employers regarding compliance with Title VII, FLSA and in other areas. By not limiting their practices to “one side,” they have a unique perspective to “both sides” of a claim or potential danger zone.
Andersen, Tate & Carr is a proud to be a sponsor for the Georgia Lenders Quality Circle
Thursday, May 23, 2013
11:30 – 2 pm
400 Summit Boulevard
Join us today, April 25th, 2013 for our annual “Kickin’ Cancer Cookout“
to raise funds for the Gwinnett County Relay for Life!
the cookout will be at One Sugarloaf Centre
1960 Satellite Blvd.
Duluth, Georgia 30097
from 11:30am to 1:30pm
Your $10 donation includes: hamburger/veggie burger or 2 hot dogs, chips, a side item, a dessert, and a drink.
ALL proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.
On March 21, 2013, thanks to the efforts of Tom Tate and other members of the defense team a federal judge in Louisiana decertified a class of plaintiffs who accuse Viking Range Corp. and its distributors of making slipshod appliances in order to create opportunities for repair work, finding the group of products being labeled defective was overly broad and could not be shoehorned into a single case.
Here are some scenarios that we hear about frequently: “I know my employee is taking prescription pain medication (after his surgery/because of a rumor I’ve heard/because he told me he was). I’m concerned about his performance/attendance/ability to drive a company vehicle or operate machinery”. This scenario leads to these questions: “Can we test him for prescription drugs?” “Can we require him to stop taking prescription meds that interfere with his job or present a threat to the company or its employees?” “Can we terminate him for poor performance/attendance, even though we know that it is a result of his medication?”
This is a really sticky area of the law. There is an employer movement towards testing for certain prescription drugs that have workplace safety implications (painkiller narcotics being the primary example), most notably amongst employers with high rates of on-the-job injuries. EEOC v. Dura Automotive Systems, an important case on this topic, was settled in September 2012, with Dura Automotive agreeing to pay $750,000 as a penalty for its blanket testing and termination of auto workers taking certain prescription medicines. The outcome indicates, however, that prescription drug testing is permitted in limited circumstances. Across-the-board testing for prescription drugs is not permitted, but testing for certain prescription drugs is permitted in positions where those drugs may impact safety. Even for safety-sensitive positions, employers should not have blanket rules prohibiting employees from using certain prescription medications (even for safety reasons). Each individual’s circumstances and performance should be assessed in light of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and employers should avoid making assumptions about any prescription medication.
Talk to an employment lawyer before implementing a substance abuse policy or testing program which involves prescription drugs, and before taking any employment action involving a prescription drug issue. With careful handling, you can address legitimate safety and performance issues while avoiding the fate of Dura Automotive.
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You may, as long as you include this complete bio with it:
Eadaoin Waller is a Georgia attorney, focusing her practice in corporate law.
Her firm, Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., works with all manner of clients in business and personal matters, providing “big firm” sophistication with suburban law firm attention and service.
Copyright © 2013 Eadaoin Waller & Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C.
Originally founded as Thomas J. Andersen, P.C. in March of 1988 the firm has grown and evolved over the years, increasing in specialization while always maintaining a high standard of professionalism and work product. Tom, Ethel Andersen, and Terri Tesler (Tom’s paralegal) can all boast of having been here from the start, with Tom Tate joining after the first months of the firm’s existence.
For more on the firm, please visit our website at
- ATC Announces New Managing Partner, Don Swift (andersentatecarr.wordpress.com)
Congratulations to our own Tom Andersen, Tom Tate, Jim Joedecke, Amy Bray, and Liz Clack-Freeman for making the 2013 SuperLawyers list for the State of Georgia. Matt Reeves and Trinity Hundredmark made the SuperLawyers “Rising Stars” list for 2013 as well.
Tom Andersen made the list of Georgia real estate lawyers for SuperLawyers for the seventh time. Tom is the head of our commercial real estate and banking group. His practice focus is on commercial real estate, finance, and banking.
Tom Tate made the list of Georgia SuperLawyers in business litigation. Tom is the head of our litigation department and has a focus in business, eminent domain, intellectual property and title insurance-related disputes. This is Tom’s fifth time being named to this prestigious list of Georgia lawyers.
Jim Joedecke made the list for business litigation SuperLawyers for the first time this year. His practice is focused in the areas of contract and business litigation, franchising litigation, condemnation and real estate litigation, bankruptcy, tax appeals and landlord/tenant disputes. Mr. Joedecke represents a variety of businesses and individuals in trial and appellate litigation around the country, as well as before local government boards and agencies, and in mediation and arbitration.
Amy H. Bray is making her first appearance on the Georgia real estate SuperLawyer list, after being named five times as a real estate “Rising Star”. She is a partner in our commercial real estate and banking group and focuses on community association law. Her practice includes representing all parties that may be involved in a community association, from developers, lenders, associations, to home owners and even the mediation of community association related cases.
Liz Clack-Freeman is making her first appearance on the SuperLaywer list of litigators. Ms. Clack-Freeman has a business and commercial litigation practice focused primarily in the areas of employment law, intellectual property and contract disputes in both federal court and state courts. Ms. Clack-Freeman’s employment practice includes not only litigation matters, but also includes preventative counseling and the drafting and reviewing of employment related documents including employee handbooks, employment agreements, severance agreements, restrictive covenant agreements, confidentiality agreements and other documents related to employment practice and procedure.
This year Matt Reeves and Trinity Hundredmark, both in our litigation department, made appearances on the SuperLawyer Rising Star list.
Matt Reeves has been named to the “Rising Stars” list for the first time. His practice covers a wide range of matters within the areas of real estate litigation, commercial and banking litigation, and probate litigation, including representing private property owners and business owners in eminent domain matters.
Trinity Hundredmark has been named to the list for the second time. She focuses her practice in criminal and family law matters. She counsels and advises clients on a variety of divorce and custody related issues. Ms. Hundredmark’s criminal practice includes both state and federal white-collar and general criminal defense. Ms. Hundredmark is also certified in DUI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing.
The Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee is poised to consider Georgia Senate Bill 56 and a priority lien for community associations this Friday, February 22, 2013.
Georgia ranks in the top of the nation for the number of foreclosures, and communities across our state continue to feel the devastating economic impact of foreclosures. A priority lien would help community associations by requiring that a foreclosing bank satisfy up to six months worth of homeowners or condominium owners’ association fees that are due at the time of foreclosure.
For more information regarding how to contact your legislators regarding the bill, go to
provided by the legislative action committee of the Georgia chapter of the Community Associations Institute for a more extensive discussion and contact information for the legislators.
- Georgia Community Association “Priority Lien” Bill – A New Year, Another Chance (andersentatecarr.wordpress.com)
Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C. is proud to announce that Donald L. Swift, III has been elected by the shareholders to serve as Managing Partner of the firm. “Don is an excellent lawyer and with his strong communication skills, personal decency and integrity, and understanding of our corporate culture, he has the respect of all of the partners here. I know he will perform superbly in this challenging role and will carry on our tradition of strong and effective managing partners,” says firm founder, Thomas J. Andersen.
Don succeeds Tom Tate, who completed his second term as Managing Partner. “With his background in both law and business, Don is the perfect choice to take over as managing partner. I am confident he will help lead us to continued growth and success in the coming years,” says Tate.
Don is a shareholder in the litigation department of Andersen, Tate & Carr. In addition to his new managerial responsibilities, Don will continue to practice in the area of complex civil litigation and dispute resolution. “I am excited about this new opportunity to lead Andersen, Tate & Carr into the future. We are poised for growth and looking for new ways to serve both our existing and prospective clients.”
About to celebrate its 25th anniversary, Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C. was founded in 1988. In that time the firm has grown from two to almost thirty attorneys and over sixty employees, making it the largest business law firm in Gwinnett County. The firm’s roots in Gwinnett County reach back much further; however, as some of its attorneys have practiced here since the mid-1970s. Andersen, Tate & Carr has become one of the preeminent law firms in suburban Atlanta by offering unparalleled legal representation in a wide variety of practice areas, such as real estate & banking, corporate & business transactions, civil litigation, land use & development, estate planning, criminal defense, and family law.
Brad Carr remarked, “I think the election of Don Swift as the new Managing Partner is simply further evidence of the continued growth of the firm and our practice. As the firm celebrates its first 25 years, I believe we have positioned ourselves to continue to be one of the premier law firms in the region for the next 25 years.” In recent years, Andersen, Tate & Carr’s reputation has spread beyond its base in Gwinnett County, to a practice that encompasses metro Atlanta. Today, the firm stands as one of the area’s most respected law firms, matching the expertise and sophistication of a “Downtown Firm” with “Small Town Firm” personal attention and dedication to its clients’ needs. The firm also encourages its attorneys and staff to take an active role in their community and to give back through community service, and civic and charitable activities throughout the year.