What Are the Labor Laws for Not Paying Employees?
What Are the Labor Laws for Not Paying Employees?
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What Are the Labor Laws for Not Paying Employees?
The primary basis of working for an employer is to receive an income, among other benefits. Realizing that you have not been properly paid or have not been paid at all can be quite a shock, and it can lead you to wonder whether or not you have grounds to pursue a lawsuit against your current or former employer.
In these situations, working with a knowledgeable employment attorney is one of the best ways to protect your rights and to determine whether or not your employer has broken the law by failing to pay you the wages that you are owed. There are both state and federal protections for employees in place, and familiarizing yourself with these is extremely important.
If you move forward with a lawsuit, you must know your rights. You can expect that your former or current employer will push back on any claims made against them, especially if you allege that they broke the law. This is why you need a committed and experienced lawyer in your corner, who can help you with recovering compensation for the unpaid hours you worked.
Understanding Basic Components of the Fair Labor Standards Act
Overtime pay, record keeping, minimum wage, and youth employment standards are all governed under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the act, the “hours worked” typically includes all-time in which an employee is required to be on duty at a prescribed workplace or on the employer’s premises. Covered nonexempt employees are also eligible to receive overtime pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a given workweek, at a rate of no less than one and a half times the regular rate of pay.
Unfortunately, there have been many examples of lawsuits involving employees who were not paid, and it makes it very important for workers to understand the labor laws for not paying employees. Employers may or may not be aware of the labor laws for not paying employees, but it is their legal responsibility to adhere to these laws and to respond seriously when they are accused of violating them. Although it can be a nerve-racking experience to bring up alleged violations of labor laws for not paying employees, workers should also be prepared to protect their rights and to move forward with a lawsuit if necessary.
The Three Important Pay Violations
There are three primary types of pay violations. The first of these is withholding pay as punishment. If an employee violates company policy and leaves on bad terms, they're still eligible to receive their full paycheck. A company that withholds this pay could face serious administrative and legal issues.
Withholding and deducting pay without consent is another primary pay violation. Employers are not able to withhold a part of an employee's wages without their consent beyond the legally required withholdings, such as those for FICA taxes.
Another violation is paying below minimum wage. Shortages, uniforms, and tools of the trade cannot be deducted from employee wages if they bring the employee's wages below the minimum wage. Be aware that some businesses may need to comply with state minimum wage laws that are higher than the federal minimum wage.
Understanding Violations of Federal Laws
Administration of the Fair Labor Standards Act occurs through the US Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division. There are several violations that employers can commit. For these violations, employees can move forward with legal action.
One violation is when an employer reduces payments to an exempted employee on salary. This might mean that the employee is no longer exempted through this action and that the employee must be paid minimum wage in addition to overtime. Failing to do so could lead to legal action. Even when companies are experiencing cash flow problems and are having difficulty meeting payroll, non-exempt hourly employees must be paid any overtime due plus their full wages on a regularly scheduled payday.
Employers who attempt to use these circumstances as reasons to avoid paying their employees can be in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. State laws can be stricter than federal laws, and businesses must comply with a law that gives a greater benefit to the employees, even if that is the state law.
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What Can Happen for Violations of Labor Laws for Not Paying Employees?
There are several different consequences for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act to employers. This can include:
- Employees can file suit to recover past due wages
- Civil monetary penalties may be fined to the employer for intentional or repeat violations
- The Secretary of Labor can open a lawsuit for back wages or open an injunction against an employer
- Employees can open lawsuits for discrimination or for being discharged for filing formal complaints against an employer
- Criminal penalties, including imprisonment and fines
If you believe your company has violated labor laws for not paying employees, you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Commission or your state's workforce agency.
It is also recommended that you communicate with an experienced attorney since this can give you a better idea of what is involved in filing a suit and the kinds of evidence you will need in your corner to support this kind of claim. It can be very frustrating to realize that your company has violated labor laws, but it is equally important to protect your interests by retaining an attorney who has filed employment lawsuits before. The right lawyer can make a big difference in the outcome of your case, particularly when you are financially dependent on this money being paid to you.
You have probably already suffered financial difficulties as a result of your employer not paying you the wages that you are owed and finding an attorney who recognizes and sympathizes with the situation will help you begin the legal process for fighting for compensation. Remember that employment law cases can be very complex, and this is why you do not want to attempt to handle them on your own.
How Do I Show I Wasn’t Paid?
If you ultimately file a lawsuit against your employer, you need to be able to produce good records that show that you were unpaid or underpaid. Keep track of all of your working hours, your paystubs, and any other details that could show you were not properly paid for the time you worked or per the terms of your contract. Gather all necessary evidence showing that you were not properly paid and bring it to the office of an employment attorney for an initial consultation. Your lawyer can tell you more about the specifics of your case and whether or not you have grounds to move forward.
What to Look for in an Employment Lawyer
Although many people are fairly frustrated when they are terminated from their position, it is another matter entirely to pursue legal action against your employer for wrongful actions. You will need to have appropriate evidence in your corner and be prepared for your employer to fight back. Finding the right attorney to handle your case can reduce your stress and give you much more confidence in the possible outcomes available to you. Furthermore, having the right employment attorney can also show the other side how serious you are about pursuing this case. Filing a legal claim might also inform other employees at your workplace that they may have also been paid inappropriately, so this could become a bigger suit or lead to multiple lawsuits. Getting the timing and the legal counsel right are both important.
When meeting with a new lawyer to determine if this is the right fit for you, ask the following questions:
- How long have you been practicing this law?
- How many other cases like mine have you handled recently?
- How have some of those recent cases concluded?
- What do you think are some of the challenges we might experience in moving forward with this case?
When to Get Legal Help
Get legal help with a withheld pay case as soon as possible. Lawyers will help you look at the facts of your case and determine what your next steps could be. Contact our experts at Morgan & Morgan now for more information. Our team has a reputation for working tirelessly on behalf of wronged employees for years, and we take each one of these cases very seriously. We can help you schedule an initial free consultation today to get the wheels of justice turning in your employment law case.
It can be hard to realize this about your former workplace. However, filing suit could help you recoup funds owed to you.