Economic Justice

Legal Advocacy for Everyday People

Employment
Employees who work hard and play by the rules have earned the right to respect and fairness in the workplace. Under federal and state law, you have a right to work in an environment free from discriminatory treatment, unlawful wage practices or fear of retaliation. Some employers, however, treat their employees unjustly or unlawfully, whether in an attempt to reap greater profits or to quiet dissent in the workplace. For example, some employers may take advantage of their employees by failing to pay them their earned wages or overtime compensation. Some employers even fail to provide occupational safety and health, forcing their employees to work under dangerous conditions that pose a risk of serious physical harm. When employee whistleblowers assert their right to speak out against fraud or corruption, unlawful retaliation by employers is often the unfortunate by-product. Edwards Kirby advocates for lawful treatment of workers, representing employees who have been mistreated or misused, subjected to discrimination or retaliation, or underpaid their hard-earned wages:

  • Wage & Hour – Federal and state laws require employers to pay their employees for every hour worked and, for many employees, to pay premium wages for overtime. Too often, employers unlawfully deny workers their hard-earned wages, through a number of unscrupulous tactics—refusing to pay employees for their full time worked, by having them clock in late or clock out early; refusing to pay workers time-and-a-half for overtime wages or misclassifying workers as “exempt” to avoid paying them at the legally required overtime rate; flouting their obligation to provide appropriate meal and rest breaks; and illegally denying workers their right to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Edwards Kirby represents individuals and groups of workers who have been deprived of their rights to be paid proper wages.
  • Equal Pay – The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work in the same establishment; other federal laws—Title VII, The ADEA and the ADA—prohibit discrimination in pay based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability. Although it is unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of sex or other factors in payment of employees for the same job, as with other forms of discrimination, this law is not always properly enforced. Edwards Kirby is experienced and passionate about ensuring equal rights and seeking proper compensation for those denied equal pay.
  • Qui Tam Suits – The law protects and rewards whistleblowers who help reveal fraud that financially costs the government. From defense contractor fraud to Medicare and Medicaid fraud and other types of monetary deception, qui tam lawsuits protect people who help expose unlawful business practices against the government. The False Claims Act enables a private citizen to sue an individual or a business that is defrauding the government and recover funds on the government’s behalf. Additionally, it enables a portion of the recovered funds to be awarded to the person. Edwards Kirby can help protect informers against personal and professional risks inherent in revealing sensitive information and also guide you through the process.

Consumer Rights
Consumers should feel safe and protected in the marketplace, able to rest assured that companies and manufacturers are fair and honest with them. Despite their moral and legal obligations to their customers, many companies put profits first, at the expense of consumers’ rights and safety. The profits companies make off of these unfair and deceptive practices ultimately come out of the consumers’ pockets. Some companies look to reap revenues by misleading customers to entice them into unfair financial products; others put defective or unsafe products into the marketplace, endangering the safety of those who use them.

Edwards Kirby is committed to protecting the public against these deceitful and dangerous products, seeking compensation for those who have been harmed and defending the right of all consumers to a safe and fair market:

  • Consumer Fraud – Consumer fraud can occur in a number of forms, such as: misrepresentation of products; “bait and switch” tactics; applying intense pressure on consumers to purchase a product; using fine-print, deceptive, or false language intentionally designed to mislead consumers. This fraud is particularly devastating to consumers of financial products, such as loans or mortgages, because the damage caused can be long-lasting and widespread. Edwards Kirby fights consumer fraud by representing its victims, pursuing recovery for their financial damages as well as the associated distress.
  • Predatory Lending – In recent years, businesses have targeted increasingly desperate consumers for predatory and unfair loans. Not only does this cost these consumers a massive amount of money, but it can cause deep, long-term damage to their finances.  Lenders use a variety of tactics to lure borrowers into costly, unsustainable loans—writing hidden fees, terms, and conditions into the loan agreement; using intentionally voluminous paperwork to confuse and deceive the borrower; including “fine print” terms that are always harmful to the consumer; short-term, high-cost loans for consumers who need the money quickly (commonly known as “payday loans”); on-site loans, such as car loans or rent-to-own furniture, that entice customers with convenient offers that are actually very costly; high-pressure salespeople who coerce consumers into purchasing products that are not in their best interest. Edwards Kirby represents victims of predatory lending to ensure just compensation for you and to stop unethical and unfair predatory lending practices by businesses.