If your employer isn’t paying you fairly, you may be entitled to a wage theft claim. Wage theft is when your employer is not paying you for work that you have completed. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recovered $304 million dollars in back wages and helped more than 1.3 million people who did work that they were not paid for.
On average the WHD found that the average worker who experienced wage theft was owed $1,150. For the average person, this is a significant amount of money. These figures are shocking, but still only represent the documented wage theft cases, which accounts for only a portion of the total amount of money that the labor force is owed.
Types of Wage Theft
The most common types of wage theft occur when the employee works hours that exceed the standard workday or week. This could be something small such as working through lunch or something big like working overtime for weeks and only being paid for 40 hours. The severity of the offense does not matter as long as you can prove you were not getting paid for time that you worked.
Other types of wage theft include:
- Failure to pay minimum wage. This is especially common in jobs that rely on tips.
- Employee Misclassification. If you have the responsibilities of a management position, but receive a salary that does not reflect that, this could be a form of wage theft.
- Illegal Deductions. There are very few deductions that your employer is allowed to make. Make sure that money is not being deducted illegally.
- Full Wage Theft. A complete failure to pay you for your work.
How an Employment Law Attorney Can Help
For a successful wage theft case, you will need to provide evidence. This will include comparing your hours worked to the amount you were paid. This is not always easy because it might require getting your time card from your employer.
An experience wage theft attorney will know how to talk to your company to get the evidence that you need to prove your case. If you believe you have a valid wage theft claim and would like to learn more about your legal options, please fill out our Free Case Evaluation to have the details of your claim sent to a qualified employment law attorney.
More Information on Wage Theft:
Many U.S. workers are covered by federal wage laws, state wage laws, or both. If you feel that your boss has breached salary and hourly laws—for example, by failure to pay you a minimum wage or overtime—you can file a complaint for compensation of your unpaid wages. However, you have only a short period of time to file your suit.
There may be various procedures for restoring unpaid salaries under your state statute, and various remedies to be awarded to anyone who succeed in verifying a violation. Common forms of wage theft are non-payment of overtime, not giving workers their last paycheck and not paying a worker at all.
If you have worked overtime and have not been compensated for it you may entitled to back pay. Under the FLSA, there are several distinct ways for an employee to reclaim overdue overtime wages; each procedure has numerous remedies such as back pay.
Pay discrepancies occurs when workers that perform similar jobs do not earn similar pay. Wage inequality often happens where a pay differential has an unlawful reason, such as race or sex.