You may believe that you do not have much say when it comes to how much you are making because your employer sets your pay. But, no matter how much authority your employer has, the employer must still pay at least minimum wage.
This is supported by a federal law entitled the Fair Labor Standards Act or the FLSA, which mandates that your employer must pay you at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. However, if your state has a different minimum wage, then your employer must pay the higher of the two. For example, in Ohio, the minimum wage has been set at $8.30 an hour so employers have to pay at least that hourly rate to employees who work in Ohio.
The problem is not every company pays at least the minimum wage and this has a huge impact on the livelihoods of employees. Employers all over the United States cut corners to save money, leaving plenty of employees getting paid below the minimum wage. There are also times when businesses face financial issues that leave employees to bear the brunt of such problems. Employers cannot excuse a failure to pay minimum wage due to financial problems.
You are entitled to receive the legally mandated minimum wage for all hours you work. Here are the steps that you should take if your employer refuses to pay you at least the applicable minimum wage:
1) Talk to your employer
While there are times that employers do this on purpose, there are other times when the employer may not aware you are not receiving minimum wage. Whatever the case may be, your first step often is to communicate with your employer about this. Before you consider filing a complaint, you should write to your employer about this first and properly outline the errors that you have noticed in your paycheck.
2) File a claim
If your employer does not wish to discuss your situation, fails to change your pay, or you are uncomfortable talking with your employer, then your next step is to file a complaint with the relevant authorities. Each state has a particular department that can take care of these claims. Once you learn in which department you should file your complaint, you can fill out a form and include as many details as possible. The department would then carefully study your claim and once they determine that your complaint has merit, they would pursue the case and provide assistance in helping you get your back wages. This often takes much longer than using an employment attorney to pursue your unpaid wages. Also, state departments typically recover less for you than private employment attorneys.
3) Go to court
You also have the option of taking your claim to court. You can go to a small claims court to get the proper compensation from your employer. However, do note that the amount you’re seeking has to be below a certain amount, often $3,000, for your claim to stand in small claims court.
4) Get in touch with an employment lawyer
If your employer, though, owes you a considerable amount of unpaid wages, you can also seek the assistance of a well-respected and knowledgeable employment lawyer. An employment lawyer is someone who specializes in employees’ pay rights and getting the help of one may help you bolster your pay claim. One group you can call is the Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC, a law firm that has the experience, the resources and the track record to help you out in this situation. You can visit their website at www.rmlegalgroup.com.