Your employer may be breaking the law by underpaying you in a variety of different ways. Your employer may try to trick you out of money by telling you they won’t pay you for time you spend on work-related activities or that you need their permission to work overtime.
Some workers are incorrectly “exempt” from overtime and other federal wage rules. Therefore, they are not receiving overtime compensation for any hours worked in excess of 40 per week. Whether out of ignorance of the law or malice, some employers may incorrectly label their workers as “exempt” and therefore avoid paying them overtime. To avoid paying overtime to a cashier, for example, an employer may change the worker’s title to “assistant manager” without altering the person’s responsibilities, claiming instead that the worker is an “exempt” manager. If that’s the case, our lawyers may file a claim on the worker’s behalf to recover any unpaid overtime.
Worker misclassified as independent contractor
Contract work is a common kind of employment for independent contractors (https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-bue Service (irs.gov)). They are not eligible for overtime compensation since they are treated as independent contractors. Many employment firms represent employees who have been wrongly categorized as independent contractors although, under the law, they are considered employees and hence entitled to overtime compensation.
The min wage is $7.25 an hour, although several states have enacted laws establishing a minimum wage increase. In violation of both federal and state law, some workers are paid less than the legally required minimum. Due to the nature of their compensation, day laborers and tip workers are disproportionately affected by minimum wage infractions.
Miscalculation of hours worked and failure to pay
Any time spent working for your company is considered compensable time, regardless of whether or not you are physically present at the workplace. Payable time includes things like:
- Making a quick check of email inbox while at home
- Remote Work
- Staying late to disinfect work station
- Dress in/dress out
- Currently undergoing a security screening
- Continuing to work through mealtimes
- Participating in Safety Seminars. Click here to read more on OSHA mandated safety courses in the workplace.
- Spending anything from five to twenty minutes on breaks.
- Time spent traveling to and from the business each day, if working off site, measured in either the morning’s departure to the first work or the evening’s return.
If your company isn’t keeping accurate time records, you may be missing out on overtime compensation. This is because they may be underestimating the number of hours you put in each week.
Tipped workers may participate in tip pooling, in which their tips are collected in a central “pool” and then distributed fairly among the workers in the same industry. Non-tipped personnel may improperly take a percentage of the gratuities intended for the tipped workers. Due to the invalidity of the tip pool, the hourly wages of tipped employees may be less than the legally mandated minimum wage.
There is no weekly overtime compensation from the employer
It’s against the law for businesses to use a two-week average of their employees’ hours worked to determine whether or not they’re required to pay overtime. A worker whose hours fluctuate from 30 in one week to 50 in the next would have his hours averaged out to 40 each week on his pay stub. Consequently, he will never be compensated for the 10 extra hours he worked during the second week. Compensation time is another term for this. Instead of paying overtime, some employers provide their employees “comp time” or vacation or sick leave. This is against the law for private companies.
Pay for overtime treated as “half-time” is also prohibited. This overtime (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overtime) payment rate is sometimes referred to as “half pay,” “Chinese overtime,” or “fluctuating workweek” since it is just 1.5 times the regular hourly wage. However, there are specific requirements that must be met before an employee may be considered for “half-time.” Some workers in China get Chinese overtime while not completing these requirements, leading to breaches of both the overtime minimum pay and the minimum wage itself.
Theft of Wages
The broad category of “wage theft,” under which some of the cases covered in an employment law details a variety of tactics used by businesses to avoid paying workers. These types of theft are concerning and all too typical in many professional settings. Congress created the Wage Fraud Prevention and Recovery Act after discovering that wage theft costs employees $8.6 billion annually. Because of its close association with other types of discrimination, wage theft is not only against the law but also a behavior that should be actively opposed. The majority of minimum wage theft victims are female, according to a congressional study. African-Americans and laborers of foreign origin had many of the same challenges. There are a variety of potential conflicts you may have with your workplace, including those involving workers’ compensation.
In an effort to curb and prevent wage theft, a number of states have enacted legislation. To tackle businesses that don’t pay or underpay their workers, Miami-Dade County, Florida, for example, implemented a Wage Theft Ordinance. Since the ordinance’s passage in 2010, citizens of Miami-Dade County have had a legal mechanism for recouping financial damages after making complaints. There are different types of theft, hence local and state laws and regulations can differ depending on the situation.
It is crucial to have an expert wages and hours attorney, who is familiar with your local laws regarding wage theft, to defend you in the event of theft, since unscrupulous businesses are always discovering methods to get around these rules.
What Happens If I Sue My Employer Over Unpaid Wages and/Or Hours?
Employer retaliation against employees who pursue wage and hour claims is prohibited by law. Retaliation may take the shape of dismissal or demotion, reduced hours or shifts, delegated responsibilities, or intentionally misleading performance reports all of which have the potential to severely impact an employee’s status.