An informed employee needs to be aware of the tell-tale signs of wage violations. Whether you think you’ve suffered lost wages because of unpaid overtime or you’ve received less than the minimum wage, you don’t need to remain silent and accept your employer’s illegal decision to pay you fewer wages than you have earned.
4 Signs of Wage Violations
Here are examples of some of the most common wage violations that occur in employers throughout the United States:
- Unpaid Overtime
Have you ever viewed your paycheck and found unpaid overtime hours when you worked any amount beyond 40 hours in a week? According to the federal overtime law, the Fair Labor & Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), all employees, except those employees who the FLSA specifically exempts from overtime must receive additional compensation (time and a half their regular rate of pay) for all work performed beyond the 40-hour weekly threshold. An employer’s failure to pay the correct overtime rate is illegal and constitutes a wage violation.
- Illegal Deductions
The FLSA and state law protect employees from illegal deductions by employers. Employers use many illegal deductions to steal employee wages and save money. Several examples of illegal deductions include failure to reimburse an employee for required supply purchases, deducting unpaid meals (assumed to have been taken, when the employee did not), and generally any other deduction from wages that occurs on an after-tax basis. In most states, the employer must obtain written authorization from the employee before deducting anything from the employee’s paycheck. Also, in most states, the deduction must benefit the employee and not the employer (which means the employer cannot deduct its costs of doing business from the employee’s paycheck)
- Paying Less Than Minimum Wage
No employer in America can pay an employee less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Moreover, many states also have more than $7.25 per hour. For example, the Colorado state minimum wage is $12.56 per hour. The minimum wage laws apply to all employees including full-time and part-time. You should confirm on every paycheck that your employer has paid you the applicable minimum wage for every hour you work.
- Not Paying for Meals or Breaks When Required
The FLSA and state law require employers to pay for all time worked. Employers must pay for all breaks that last 20 minutes or less. As for meal periods, the employer is not legally required to pay for meal periods if the employee is completely removed from working. Employers often violate the law by automatically deducting 30 minutes or 60 minutes for a meal period, but the employee then works through the meal period. This illegal practice often occurs in hospitals, other health care facilities, and senior care and living facilities.
Don’t Ignore the Signs of Wage Violations
You may think that you shouldn’t confront these illegal wage violations because everybody else endures them. Paying employees less is never acceptable. You should contact an employment attorney if you believe your employer is paying you less than legally required.
How to Handle a Wage Dispute
You will likely need to talk your wage dispute to court if you cannot get your employer to voluntarily settle a wage problem when you bring it to your employer’s attention. Failure to pay employees correctly carries specific legal penalties. For example, in Missouri, employees can recover a penalty that doubles the unpaid wages due if the employer fails to pay time-and-a-half when you work overtime.
You can get results if you fight back against wage violations, but it’s critical to have strong representation, which is why you need a good employment lawyer.
Contact Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC
Contact Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC today if you believe you have suffered any wage violations in your workplace. Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC represents employees nationwide against employers who commit wage violations.