Employers have a duty to provide their workers with fair and adequate wages. Unfortunately, some irresponsible businesses do not provide their employees with all the wages that are owed.
Federal law requires employers to pay for any hours that their employees work. When a business provides less pay than the employee has earned, it is called “wage theft.”
In the United States, the Department of Labor is responsible for ensuring that businesses provide fair wages. But in many cases, state labor laws also influence wage theft cases.
If you believe that you have been paid less than you are owed by your employer, you may need to know how to search for unpaid wages. When you are in a situation like this, it is vital to speak with a skilled labor law attorney.
The legal professionals at Morgan & Morgan have years of experience representing the victims of wage theft. We know what it takes to recover the wages that employees are owed.
It is vital to hold tightfisted employers accountable when they steal labor from their workers. Fill out the contact form on the Morgan & Morgan website to schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.
Understanding Unpaid Wages Claim
There are many different ways that an employer can cheat workers out of their earned pay. In many cases, employees may not know that their employer is doing anything illegal.
Some of the most common examples of wage and hour practice violations include:
Failing to Meet Tipped Minimum Wage
The federal tipped minimum wage rate is $5.03. When an employee works for tips, they can be paid this hourly rate.
When tipped workers do not earn at least the minimum wage including their tips, the employer is required to provide “minimum wage makeup.” This amount of money should equal the difference between the wages that the worker earned and the required minimum wage.
Also, tipped employees are the only workers who should have access to the tip pool. If non-tipped workers take funds from this pool, the other employees may take home less than the required minimum.
Tipping is one issue that employees should consider when they search for unpaid wages. If you believe that your employer has not been distributing tips appropriately, reach out to the skilled professionals at Morgan & Morgan.
We can examine your situation and help you search for unpaid wages.
“Off the Clock” Labor
Any time an employee is performing a task related to their job, they must be paid. Any work-related activities should be compensated.
Tasks that are performed without credit being given to the worker is called “off-the-clock” work. This is one of the most common forms of wage theft.
Some examples of “off the clock” labor include:
- Attending training sessions or other meetings
- Time spent putting on protective clothing and gear
- Time spent booting up work computers
- Equipment cleaning and maintenance time
All of these activities are work-related. Employers should pay their workers for performing each of these tasks.
When businesses expect their laborers to provide “off-the-clock” work, they are stealing hard-earned wages from their workers.
In some cases, the employer is cheating the workers out of overtime pay. Any hours that are worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek must be compensated at time-and-a-half their normal pay rate.
Regardless of the pay rate, employees must legally be compensated for all of the time that they spend engaged in work-related activities. Failure to do so constitutes wage theft.
If you believe that you are providing unpaid work to your employer, contact an attorney immediately. Workers have the right to hold negligent businesses accountable for instances of theft.
Failure to Compensate Day-Rate Employees
Some workers are compensated through a day-rate payment structure. No matter how many hours they work, these employees will receive a particular rate.
In general, this type of payment approach is legal. However, day-rate workers must receive at least the minimum wage.
In the oil and gas industries, day-rate payment arrangements are common. But this type of payment approach can increase the risks for wage and hour violations.
Oftentimes, day-rate workers provide 12 to 16 hours of labor in a single day. The fluctuation of hours combined with a flat-rate approach to compensation may result in inadequate pay.
Consider the following example. Suppose that a pipeline worker is paid $100 for each day of work. In other words, they would receive $500 per week.
Suppose the pipeline worker works 74 hours in a week. In this case, the $100 day-rate would not reach the required minimum.
Instead, the employee would receive an average of $6.75 for each hour of work. This would be a violation of wage and hour regulations.
A skilled labor lawyer can help the worker seek compensation for their missed wages. If your day-rate pay results in inadequate compensation, reach out to a legal professional.
The trusted lawyers at Morgan & Morgan will help you search for unpaid wages and recover compensation.
Out-of-Pocket Expenses for Workers
If an employee is required to pay for work-related resources or services, they are at a higher risk for wage theft. Employees should compensate their workers for this type of expense.
Some of the typical examples of work-related expenses include:
- Required dress and uniforms
- Cost of cleaning uniforms
- Physical examinations
- Cash register or other monetary shortages
When employers require their employees to cover work-related costs, the expenses may affect the workers’ rate of pay. If you need to search for unpaid wages from your employer, consider your out-of-pocket costs.
The legal experts at Morgan & Morgan have years of experience helping under-compensated workers search for unpaid wages. We will fight diligently for the financial recovery that you are owed.
You should not have to bear the financial burdens of your employer’s unfair wage practices. Wage theft is illegal and tightfisted corporations should be held accountable.
Contact Morgan & Morgan to speak with an accomplished labor lawyer today.
Can You File a Lawsuit for Unpaid Wages?
Many victims of wage theft wonder whether they have the legal option to file a lawsuit. Workers are permitted to sue their employers for unpaid wages.
The first step is to submit a claim to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). Once you have submitted a claim, the department will investigate your situation.
After investigating, the WHD will determine whether your underpayment claim is valid. If they rule in your favor, they will issue a legal order requiring your employer to pay what you are owed.
In many cases, this will resolve an unpaid wage complaint. Following this order, your employer should compensate you for the wages that were unpaid. The difference between the amount you were paid and the amount you were owed is called “back pay.”
If the WHD does not rule in your favor, you still have legal options. You can search for unpaid wages by filing a lawsuit against your employer.
If you are hoping to recover unpaid wages, it is critical to contact a knowledgeable labor attorney. The experienced team at Morgan & Morgan can determine the wage and hour laws that apply to your case.
The details of your claim will determine how much back pay and compensation you can recover. Relevant factors in an unpaid wages claim include answers to the following questions:
- Are you paid by the hour?
- Are you subject to state or federal minimum wage rates?
- Are you classified as an independent contractor?
- What are your standard weekly work hours?
- Are there any class action suits against your employer?
- Have you missed money on a recent paycheck?
- Do you regularly work overtime hours?
If you hope to file a lawsuit for unpaid wages, these issues will determine the strength of your claim. To determine your best legal options for securing unpaid wages, reach out to the lawyers at Morgan & Morgan.
We have decades of experience recovering the money that underpaid employees are owed. Our firm offers a free consultation to new clients to discuss the facts in each case.