Imagine that you are working hard at your job and when you look at your paycheck you realize that there is money missing.
After careful examination you realize that it is not a clerical error, rather you have intentionally not been paid for overtime that you worked, or you know you worked 38 hours but you are only being paid for 28 hours. These are examples of wage theft.
Wage theft is something that happens to employees across the country on a regular basis. While it is a common occurrence, it can be very difficult to prove and the entire complaint process is very stressful. You might consider hiring an employment attorney to help you navigate the complexities of filing a wage theft complaint.
What Is Wage Theft?
Whenever you are not paid for work that you have completed and it’s more than a simple human error, then you might be the victim of wage theft.
By definition, wage theft includes any instance when an employee is not paid for the total amount of hours worked, when an employee is not paid for overtime worked, when an employee is not paid according to minimum wage laws, if an employee is not given his or her final paycheck or when an employee is not paid at all for work completed.
An overtime-eligible employee who works more than 40 hours in a week is entitled to payment of one and a half times the normal pay rate for each additional hour worked.
An employer must pay you at the overtime rate when you exceed 40 hours in a single work week.
A minimum wage violation would occur when an employer does not pay you according to the local, state and federal minimum wage laws.
Under these laws you are entitled to the highest rate of minimum wage offered in your location. It is important to note that this is not something that your employer can choose on an individual basis; if there is a different minimum wage across federal, state and local guidelines then you receive the highest rate.
Digital wage theft can include time shaving or rounding, when your timesheet does not reflect the amount of time actually worked.
You might have time deducted for breaks that you didn’t actually take, or you might be asked to work “off the clock”. In some of these cases, someone at your company has to manually adjust your timesheet, and in other cases it could be a matter of the time clock’s programming.
Either way, never assume that wage theft doesn’t happen when you use a time clock because digital wage theft absolutely happens.
These are all examples of wage theft, and you are entitled to compensation.
Remedies for Wage Theft
When you file a complaint for wage theft you are seeking payment for work done. You can file a complaint with your company’s Human Resources department or you might file a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which is the agency responsible for overseeing the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Filing a formal complaint can lead to remedies like recouping your lost wages, paying for out of pocket costs to file a complaint, legal fees and even emotional distress that is the result of lost wages and the stress of filing a complaint.
Though hiring an employment attorney is not required to file a wage theft complaint, retaining an employment attorney can help you to receive all of the remedies you are entitled to receive.
How an Employment Law Attorney Can Help
Filing a wage theft complaint is a time consuming process that requires a great deal of documentation to support the claim. It can be very stressful for an employee, too. You might consider hiring an employment law attorney to help guide you through the process.
Employment attorneys understand the nuances of filing wage theft complaints. They know what documentation will bolster your claim and what you need to do to ensure that your case is as strong as possible.
Having an expert advocating on your behalf will greatly reduce your stress through the entire process. While hiring an employment attorney will not guarantee that you will win your case, it will greatly improve your chances of success.
Even if you are owed a small amount of money, you should still consider hiring an employment attorney so that you can receive the money you are owed.
Employment law lawyers will take on any case, regardless of the amount of money in question, because the larger issue is that the wage theft is stopped entirely and that will happen when a complaint is successful.
Fill out a free evaluation form to learn more about how an employment law attorney can help with your wage theft complaint.