There are numerous ways that employers commit wage theft. Employees’ rights should be protected, and you deserve all the pay to which you are legally entitled.
At Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC, we will vigorously pursue employee rights. The firm has the experience to assess and pursue claims against employers for minimum wage and overtime violations, among other employment claims.
What Happens When Employers Commit Wage Theft?
When employers commit wage theft, it is a serious violation of employment laws. Wage theft occurs when employers underpay or deny employees compensation they are legally entitled to under employment laws and/or contracts.
Employers Commit Wage Theft in Numerous Ways
Employers cheat employees out of wages in many ways. Here are some of the most common ways.
Minimum Wage Violations
Federal law requires employees to receive a minimum hourly wage of $7.25. Many states have higher minimum hourly rates, and employees are entitled to whichever minimum wage rate is greater. Minimum wage violations occur when employers pay employees less than the applicable minimum wage. This can also occur when employers make illegal deductions from employees’ pay checks, work employees off the clock, or refuse to pay employees for work-related expenses such as cell phones and computers.
Eligible employees are entitled to an overtime rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for each hour worked over the standard 40-hour work week. Some states have additional overtime laws which require employers to pay daily overtime or other additional overtime. You should check with an employment attorney to determine if these state laws apply to you.
There are some exemptions to the overtime laws; however, employers will often misclassify employees as exempt to avoid paying them overtime. For example, an employer may designate workers as independent contractors when they are actually employees.
Employers may also average hours over two weeks or more to avoid paying overtime. They may also ignore when hourly employees work overtime or do not allow employees to report overtime hours.
Employers commit wage theft when they fail to pay overtime to salaried employees who don’t meet the salary threshold for exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act or state law.
Working Off the Clock
An employer acts unlawfully if the employer requires employees to work before or after their shifts, and during meal periods and/or breaks without compensation. It is also illegal for an employer to automatically deduct meal or rest breaks from employees’ wages even when they work through them. We find this often occurs in the healthcare and care home industries.
Waiters, waitresses, and bar staff are often the victims of wage theft. Employers may set up improper tip pooling and tip-sharing arrangements. Employers can track tip credit for minimum wage and overtime laws, but employers can’t keep any tip money.
Employers in some industries can pay a special base rate less than minimum wage. However, they have to show that employees received enough tip money to equal the applicable minimum wage.
Payroll Deduction Violations
Employers can sometimes make legal deductions to an employee’s wages. However, unauthorized deductions for uniforms or tools that lower employees’ pay to less than minimum wage are not lawful.
Employers may commit wage theft by failing to maintain accurate records of work hours, pay rates, and other wage-related information.
Suing Your Employer for Wage Violations
Contacting an experienced employment attorney is important in recovering your lost wages. An employment attorney can help you understand the minimum wage and overtime requirements based on your circumstances and state.
You should also review any employment agreement or payment policies when you notice your incorrect wages. Look for employer policies about overtime and bonuses to ensure you understand your rights.
Collecting relevant documentation can help strengthen your claim.
Contact an Experienced Employment Attorney to Fight For Your Rights
Employers commit wage theft intentionally and often, so contact Rowdy Meek Legal Group LLC for a free case evaluation if you suspect workplace wage violations.