How Can I Prevent Wage Theft?

Unfortunately, many employers try to make extra money for themselves through wage theft.  Often these are deductions taken from pay that bring down the weekly wage, so it is less than the legal minimum wage. This is illegal.

Wage theft typically takes place when an employer takes money from your wage packet without telling you. It could be done in a number of ways, including the following:

  • not paying the legal minimum wage;
  • failing to pay you for all hours worked;
  • failing to pay overtime rates;
  • not including tips earned by the employee in the wage packet;
  • not paying holiday and sick pay;
  • only paying for official work hours and not preparation periods that may take place before and after official work hours.

There may be other ways that an employer may cheat you and which is violating the Wages and Hour laws that come under the FLSA. However, you can monitor what your employer is doing with your wages so you can prove wage theft has taken place.

Tips for Preventing Wage Theft

  • You should pay more attention to the money you are receiving in your pay packet and while tracking the hours you worked, pay wage, and deductions to make sure you are receiving the correct amount.
  • The next step to preventing wage theft is to understand your rights in relation to minimum wages, overtime pay, work breaks, vacation and sick pay.
  • If you find you are a victim of wage theft assume it was done deliberately.
  • If you work in the following industries closely monitor your pay packet:
    • textile manufacturing,
    • building services,
    • restaurants,
    • food preparation,
    • hospitality,
    • in private households,
    • retail stores
    • child care;
    • personal services.
  • Use a notebook to keep a track of each work day including start and finish times so you can compare when you get your pay stub.
  • Keep all your pay slips and add up your hours as you go along including those which involve extra duties out of normal hours.
  • Your employer should provide you with information about your hours worked and the pay you have received but many don’t do this so you should keep this information yourself.
  • Stop working immediately if you discover wage theft and take up the matter with your employer.

If your employer doesn’t respond to your complaint which many don’t this is the time to contact an employment lawyer who will consider your case and what action can be taken to get your employer to pay back the wages theft.

When to Speak With a Lawyer

If you followed these tips, but still think you’re a victim of wage theft, you may want to assert your rights and speak with a lawyer to help with a claim, as you don’t want your employer get away with wages theft. If you talk to an employment lawyer he or she will know exactly what to do and may start by helping you compile a letter to your employer outlining the amount of wage theft that is owed to you.

If the employer ignores the request to pay the wage theft amount your attorney can file a complaint to the EEOC or Wages and Hours Division which monitor violations of the FLSA. Before you arrange a consultation with the employment lawyer you should have all the evidence to prove the wages theft. This includes the total number of hours worked and the amount of pay you received and the amount you are still owed. Complete the Free Case Evaluation today.

Additional Resources