You have the right to be paid fairly and without unnecessary delays or conflicts. Unfortunately, some employers routinely refuse to honor state and federal laws and deny employees what they are owed.
At Fair Labor Law, we make it our mission to help workers enforce their rights and obtain the compensation they deserve. Our employment law attorney has over a decade of legal experience and offers comprehensive wage violation assistance to employees and independent contractors working in a wide variety of jobs and industries.
If you suspect you are a victim of wage theft, do not hesitate to contact us online or call (888) 333-7147. We offer our legal services in English and Spanish.
Most wage violations boil down to an employer failing to pay someone what they are owed under the law. In some cases, employers will resort to unscrupulous tactics, such as misclassifying workers, to obfuscate their efforts to underpay employees. We know how to recognize these and other types of violations and provide you with the seasoned guidance you need to advance your claims.
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- Straight Time for Overtime. Many employees throughout the United States are entitled to overtime compensation under federal or state overtime laws. When someone receives overtime pay, they get “time and a half,” or 1.5 times their base rate. Even if you are paid a salary, day rate, or on some other non-hourly basis, the law specifies how to calculate your regular hourly rate for overtime purposes. “Straight time for overtime” occurs when an employee receives their regular rate of pay when they should be receiving overtime compensation. Employers may use various schemes to deny overtime pay or may simply refuse to follow the law. Read more.
- Unpaid Time. Employees must be appropriately compensated for all hours worked. To that end, employers typically require employees covered by minimum wage and overtime laws to track their hours by clocking in and clocking out. These timesheets are used to determine how many hours an employee worked in a given day or workweek and therefore the amounts employees must be paid. They also help determine whether an employee is entitled to overtime pay. Unfortunately, some employers will go to great lengths to avoid paying overtime compensation. Common tactics employers use to undercount work time include "shaving” an employee’s hours once a timesheet has been submitted and implicitly or directly asking an employee to work “off-the-clock.” Read more.
- Independent Contractor Misclassification. Most employees are entitled to certain rights, including tax contributions, unemployment insurance, overtime compensation (if covered and nonexempt), and other key benefits. Independent contractors are not generally entitled to these benefits, and some employers will intentionally misclassify employees as independent contractors as a means of circumventing state or federal requirements. When someone is misclassified as an independent contractor, they are effectively denied benefits and protections they are entitled to, including the potential for overtime compensation. We can help workers navigate these misclassification issues. Read more.
- Exempt Employee Misclassification. Federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws include exemptions for certain categories of employees, meaning employers do not have to pay them overtime compensation, or even the minimum wage in some cases. Unfortunately, many employers misclassify non-exempt employees as exempt. Just because you are paid a salary, a day rate, commissions, or some basis other than hourly does not mean you are legally exempt from overtime. Most salaried employees can only be considered exempt if they receive a certain level of compensation and their job duties meet the criteria for an exemption, such as the administrative exemption, executive exemption, or another professional worker exemption. Several additional exemptions do exist, and many states have their own regulations for what constitutes an exempt worker. Our team can determine if you may have been misclassified and review your legal options. Read more.
- Bonuses, Incentives, Shift Differentials, and Per Diems. All of these categories of additional pay may be required to be included together with your base wage rate for purposes of calculating your “regular rate” for time-and-a-half overtime pay. When employers exclude them, they reduce the regular rate and pay less overtime compensation than may be re quired. Federal regulations address the detailed circumstances that determine when these additional pay components must be included in the regular rate for overtime and when they can be excluded. Our team can assist you to analyze possible miscalculation of your regular rate of pay for overtime purposes and explore legal options for recovering underpaid overtime compensation. Read more.
- Stolen or Misappropriated Tips. When an employee customarily makes more than $30 in tips in a single month, an employer has the right to pay them direct wages below the applicable minimum wage if the difference can be made up in tips. Should a tipped employee not make enough tips to meet the applicable minimum wage, their employer must pay the deficit so that they make the relevant minimum wage. Employers are not allowed to steal employee tips, and they can only make certain types of deductions in some states under very specific circumstances. While employers can elect to pool tips, managers and supervisors cannot be included in a pool. In most circumstances, employees that are not customarily tipped – including back-of-house employees – cannot participate in a pool. Our firm can help tipped employees understand their rights and explore their legal options when their tips are being stolen. Read more.
- Meal Periods and Rest Breaks. Federal law does not require employers to provide employees with meal or rest breaks. Several states do require regular unpaid meal periods and paid rest breaks, including protected restroom visits. In practice, most employers will offer employees meal periods and rest breaks when employees work a certain number of hours in a single workday, and federal law regulates how employers treat this time when granted. Employers must pay employees when they take authorized breaks that last twenty minutes or less, and this time must go toward total hours worked and overtime calculations. The only federal exception to this rule is when an employer specifies that authorized breaks cannot last more than a set amount of time. If an employer establishes a policy that an authorized break cannot last more than five minutes, for example, they will only need to pay employees for those five minutes. Employers typically do not need to compensate employees for meal periods, which will usually last thirty minutes or more. Unpaid meal periods do not count toward total hours worked and overtime calculations. However, an employer cannot require you to work or be “on-call” during an authorized break or unpaid meal period. You must be appropriately compensated for your time if you are expected to work during any type of break. We can help you file a claim with the appropriate agency if you are being denied breaks required by state law or if you are being forced to work during a break or meal. Meal Periods and Rest Breaks.
- Travel Time. Employers generally do not have to pay employees for time spent commuting from their homes to the jobsite and back. However, federal regulations require employers to compensate employees for certain time spent traveling. For example, if the employee is required to report to a company shop or other location to load equipment or perform other work tasks before driving to a jobsite, they may be entitled to compensation for that time. Similarly, if an employee is expected to drive from one jobsite to another, they must be compensated. Additional regulations specify when employees are to be paid for time spent traveling out of town far enough that they have to spend the night away from home. Our team can help you understand your rights if your employer is refusing to pay you for applicable travel time.