All employees should be aware that there are many things your employer can’t legally do with your wages.
Employers must follow federal and state laws to pay employees the wages they earn through their hard work. Employers who fail to follow the law are liable to employees for the unpaid wages, and can further be liable for additional damages, interest, penalties, and attorney’s fees and costs. Employees who have suffered wage loss should pursue the unpaid wages and other damages through an employment attorney. Here are examples of what an employer cannot do to employees’ wages.
4 Things Your Employer Can’t Legally Do With Your Wages
- Refuse to Pay Overtime Premium (“time and a half”)
This is a serious problem in the American labor force, as employers often attempt to shirk their legal responsibility to pay the lawful overtime premiums when employees work beyond 40 hours per week.
- Refuse to Pay Federal & State Minimum Wage
The federal minimum wage is $7.25. Many states have a higher minimum wage threshold, which means that employers must pay at a rate that satisfies both requirements. You should contact an employment attorney if you believe your employer is failing to pay you the correct minimum wage.
- Garner Your Wages Because of Job-Related Expenses
Employers will often make illegal deductions to an employee’s paycheck. State law defines what deductions are illegal. IN most states, the employer must have the employee sign a written statement that authorizes the deductions before they happen. Also, the deductions generally must benefit the employee and not the employer. You should contact an employment attorney if you have any questions about your wage deductions.
- Ask You to Work Extra Hours That Are Unpaid or Ineligible for Overtime
It is illegal for employers to allow or compel an employee to work “off the clock,” even for minor tasks such as cleaning a work area or putting away supplies. Employers must pay for all work employees perform. Employers cannot escape wage payment by saying that employees were not clocked into the timekeeping system when they performed the work. Again, this is a common strategy for employers to escape paying overtime.
Other Things Your Employer Can’t Legally Do
There are many other ways employers try to violate the wage laws by not paying the legally required wages including overtime. These other ways include:
- Classifying the employee’s job as salaried and exempt from overtime when the employee does not spend sufficient work time actually managing other employees or making decisions that are important to the employer.
- Withholding wages as any form of punishment for perceived lack of work performance.
- Not paying for legally required meals or breaks (this includes working employees through the unpaid meal and break periods – employees must be relieved of all work duties for the meal periods to be unpaid).
- Not paying final wages due to employees when they leave their jobs.
You can find further information on these sorts of wage violations here, 6 common questions about unpaid wages.
How Do You Defend Against These Problems?
Your first course of action should always be to notify a manager or HR representative of any pay discrepancies you encounter. Problems with your paycheck can be the result of clerical errors, and most honest managers will be happy to rectify the mistake.
If, however, you believe you have a legitimate case for wage violations, and your employer refuses to remedy them, you should contact an employment attorney to discuss your wage rights.
Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC litigates wage claims only on behalf of employees. We’re active in the Kansas City area, and we also service employment claims across the United States. We’ve helped clients regain lost wages in places like Denver, Seattle, St. Louis, New York City, and more.
When it comes to good legal counsel, we wouldn’t want you to entrust your wage dispute to just any attorney. It’s critical that you only utilize the services of a trusted and effective lawyer.
That’s why we’re proud to boast our status as the Top Employment Law Company in Kansas City, according to the online reviewer, BloggerLocal. That shows how we’ve demonstrated our effectiveness in helping workers gain restitution following difficult disputes.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if any of these scenarios apply to you now that you’re aware of the many things your employer can’t legally do with your wages.