There are many protections under the law designed to ensure employees are treated fairly by their employers. Despite these protections, some companies still fail to live up to their obligations in many situations. Just recently, The Walt Disney Co. had to pay $3.8 million in unpaid wage claims, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Your employer is required to pay you at least minimum wage, for the entire time that you work, and to pay you overtime. In any situation where your employer fails to provide the compensation that you are due under the law, you need to understand what legal recourse is available to you.
The best way to do this is to talk with an experienced attorney who knows the state and federal laws applicable to worker pay requirements. An attorney can also make sure you fully understand your rights and take the most strategic approach.
What are Your Rights When An Employer Violates Fair Wage Laws?
Employers violate fair wage laws in a number of different ways. Some common examples of violations include:
- Paying an employee less than minimum wage for work performed.
- Requiring employees to do work before clocking in or after clocking out.
- Failing to pay overtime wages to workers.
- Incorrectly classifying employees as independent contractors.
- Incorrectly classifying employees as exempt workers who are not eligible for overtime pay.
- Improperly withholding money from the paychecks of employees who have a right to their earnings.
If an employer fails to provide appropriate payments to workers and is in violation of any state or federal laws, there are options available to the employee who is being deprived of compensation.
Employees may sometimes decide that they want to file complaints with the Department of Labor. The Wage and Hour Division can conduct investigations and are sometimes successful in helping employees recover unpaid funds. In many situations, employees should talk with an employment law attorney who can pursue an appropriate civil claim.
An employment law attorney with experience handling wage and hour claims can help employees to pursue a lawsuit to recover back pay, interest, and penalties in appropriate circumstances. An attorney can help you to prove exactly how labor laws were violated and the extent of the loss so you can maximize the chances to get full compensation for wages you were shortchanged.
In some situations, a number of employees will have been victimized by the same employer who engages in unjust labor practices and deprives many workers of their rights to compensation. The recent Disney case is an example of this. When this happens, an attorney can assist many workers in coming together to file a class action lawsuit or make a joint claim against a company that did not pay them appropriate wages for their work.