Many hourly employees are paid for less hours than they worked, are forced to work through breaks, and are shorted on their overtime pay that they have earned. Thankfully, more and more workers are finding that they have a very powerful tool to fight against these practices: a wage theft lawsuit. These lawsuits help recover wages that have been illegally withheld from employees.
However, many employees still do not understand what wage theft is or how to enforce their rights. Here are the basics of wage theft that every employee should know:
What Is Wage Theft?
Wage theft lawsuit is a term that covers a wide array of different violations of both federal and state wage and hour laws. Some of the most common problems that lead to a lawsuit include:
Under-reporting Hours – For example, a California company was forced to pay over $330,000 in back wages to workers. The company had the workers sign blank time cards and then the employer would fill out the cards, putting in less hours than the employees worked.
No Overtime – In 2013, a wage theft lawsuit in New York alleged that a restaurant altered employee timecards to show that they did not work overtime. Another lawsuit against the delivery giant, FedEx, alleged that the company tried to label their drivers as independent contractors who are not governed by the same rules as other regular employees are. A federal judge did not agree with FedEx and ruled against them.
Stealing Tips – For those in the hospitality industry, tips are the main wages that they earn. When a company decides to hold some of these tips or keep the tips, it is considered wage theft.
Working Through Breaks – Most states in the US require that employers allow employees to have breaks during their shifts. If a company in one of these states forces employees to work through these breaks, they can then be sued.
Enforcing Wage And Hour Laws
Employees that are worried they are being underpaid need to speak to an experienced wage and hour attorney, such as the employment attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught. They can help with every aspect of your case and help you understand federal laws regarding wages.
Our attorneys offer a free consultation and work on a contingency basis. Call today to set up your free consultation (918) 582 – 2500.
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