When employers fail to count all wages, commissions, shift differentials, and performance-based bonuses and prizes when calculating the employee’s hourly rate, or fraudulently misrepresent or understate hours or earnings, they rob their employees out of wages and overtime pay.
Fortunately, the Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that employers retain records of all payroll and employee compensation for two years, giving workers who suspect wage theft and abuse the ability to examine the records and check for errors or omissions.
Tipped employees depend on gratuities for a good portion of their incomes, but they get shorted when their employers implement pay practices that divide and distribute tips to other non-tipped workers.
Minimum Wage Violations
Many deductions are improper and unlawfully reduce workers’ pay below the minimum wage, regardless of whether the employer takes the costs out of wages or requires employees to reimburse the employer. If your employer has attempted to deduct these or other improper costs and expenses from your pay, diluting your compensation below the minimum wage, you may be entitled to recover the amount of those deductions.
Off the Clock violations
When you’re on the clock, your employer reasonably expects you to carry out your work and should pay you accordingly for all hours worked. Once you’re off the clock, however, your time is valuable and you should be paid for any additional tasks your employer forces you to do. Examples of Off the Clock violations include:
These and other examples of “off the clock” work result in countless hours – including overtime – for which hard-working employees in a broad range of industries are not paid.
Overtime Pay Violations
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, neither an employee nor an employer can waive overtime pay for a non-exempt employee. Agreements to limit work to eight hours a day or 40 hours per week or employer announcements disallowing or not permitting overtime are considered invalid. Similarly, there is no distinction for tasks or duties that an employee voluntarily continues at the end of a shift – those hours are considered compensable work time for which the employee should be paid.
Overtime pay violations most frequently arise from:
Often, wage class action lawsuits are brought forward by workers who have been victim of misclassification. The difference in compensation between nonexempt and exempt employees can be substantial, and employers who misclassify workers to avoid paying overtime and benefits are breaking the law.
If an employee works 40 hours or fewer a week working, he or she is entitled to be paid the applicable minimum wage. For non-exempt employees, any work over 40 hours in a single week qualifies for time-and-a-half pay, which is calculated at 150% of the employee’s hourly wage. Exempt employees do not qualify for overtime pay. However, to qualify as an exempt employee, an individual must meet a specific criteria. Some examples of exempt job roles include:
“White collar” workers occasionally fall into the exempt employee category, depending on their specific job role. Your company’s HR department may conduct a test to determine if you are considered exempt. If you still believe you have been misclassified as an exempt employee, you may be entitled to pursue action against your employer.
If you believe you have been improperly classified as an exempt employee.
If you believe that your employer has made improper deductions from your paychecks.
If you believe you have not been properly compensated for your work under the FLSA.
If you believe your employer has committed any violations under the FLSA and that you or your co-workers have been affected by these wrongdoings.
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