Even in the most pleasant working environment, there are things that we don’t like about our workplace. When you’re on the job and your employer does things that don’t seem right, keep in mind that their actions might not only be unfair, but that they may also be against the law. For instance, wage theft occurs when your employer denies you the wages and benefits that they are supposed to give to you. This is a general category of wrongdoing by employers, but there are specific elements that you want to watch out for. You want to be able to recognize when your rights are being violated. Read on to learn about top five wage and hour violations that employers commit against employees.
- Work without pay: Everyone should be paid for the work that they do. However, employers don’t always fulfill this obligation. Not being paid at all is the most blatant form of wage theft. This can occur when there is no pay at all or more likely when you’re not being paid for certain wages. For example, if you’re a non-exempt employee, you’re eligible for overtime pay if your employer requests that you work more than 40 hours in a week. If you work these extra hours but aren’t given the extra pay or are asked to work “off the books,” then you would likely be entitled to receive compensation. Other examples are when employers don’t pay employees for travel time from site to site or not paying an employee’s final paycheck.
- Failure to make timely payments or not paying the right amount: You’re supposed to receive your pay on the agreed upon time and for the agreed upon amount. If your employer doesn’t deliver your paycheck on time or if the amount is less than your hourly rate for the hours you worked, it is a violation. This includes overtime on commissions and regular wages.
- Minimum wage violations: With federal, state, and in some cases, city minimum wages, one is entitled to the highest rate of pay. Being paid less than minimum wage per hour is prohibited. In California, the minimum wage varies based on location and the size of the employer. However, your employer must pay you at least the minimum amount based on the law in your area, regardless.
- Employee misclassification: If you’re classified as an employee of a company, you’re entitled to certain rights and protections, including workers compensation, payroll taxes paid by the employer and unemployment insurance. But as an independent contractor a worker does not get the benefit of these rights and protections; independent contractors are also responsible for paying their payroll taxes to the IRS. Obviously, if you’re misidentified, it will greatly impact your benefits and rights.
- Confiscating tips: Service industry workers depend on tips for much of their income and have a right keep their tips without interference from owners or managers. Even if you end up earning more than the minimum wage in your area because of your tips, you’re still entitled to them, and your employer can’t take them away from you. Additionally, your employer can’t reduce your base pay or adjust it using a so-called tip.
Wronged by your Employer? Contact a Wage and Hour Attorney
You work hard for your money and should be paid accordingly. If you’ve experienced these common wage and hour violations, then think about taking action against your employer. A Walton Law attorney is ready to assess your situation and let you know where you stand. Contact us today for next steps.