Federal Minimum Wage
Workers in the United States are entitled to the federal minimum wage. This is regardless of where they live. Some states have their own minimum wage, however some do not. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. Many agree that it should be raised, but most employers feel that it should remain the same. In fact, employers from time to time try to find a way to deny their workers the hard-earned money they have made.
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Some are mistaken when they believe that they are being paid less than minimum wage because of the withholding of state or federal taxes. Their employer has a right and is obligated, to withhold money for taxes. With that said, employers still try to violate federal minimum wage laws. Here are some examples of the way they do it:
- Unpaid overtime
- Forging timecards
- Denying compensation for work done before the business opens
- Workers being classified as exempt from minimum wage laws when they are not
What Is Wage Theft?
Any employer who practices any of these tactics is committing a crime called wage theft. The minimum wage laws do not regard any of the practices above as legal. Wage theft is when an employer does not pay for work done as demanded by law. Wage theft does not just include breaking federal minimum wage laws. Wage theft can also be done by not paying the full amount that a contract indicated and was agreed upon. It can also be not paying an agreed-upon contract at all.
What If Wage Theft Wasn’t Intentional?
Wage theft must be intentional, and most cases of federal wage laws are violated intentionally. With that said, the most common form of unintentional wage theft is when overtime is not paid to an employer. If it is not remedied immediately, the employer is committing the crime of wage theft. To ensure the matter wasn’t a mistake, it is always important for the employee to talk to the business owner before proceeding to a lawyer.
Doing More Than Paid For
Another form of wage theft is giving the employee the hours and responsibilities of a manager and then paying them a lesser wage than is due. This is an extremely common practice in retail as many employers will attempt to avoid raising wages and providing benefits.
What About the Food Service Industry?
Those who serve for restaurants and bars are protected under federal minimum wage laws just like other workers. With that said, the laws are still different for them. They are entitled to make the same profit that those who get a standard hourly pay rate, the difference is that the majority of it is supposed to come from tips. For workers in the food service industry who receive tips, they must be paid a minimum hourly rate of $2.13/hour from salary.
Even If Overtime Is Paid
Some employers are still committing wage theft when they pay for overtime hours when an employee works more than 40 hours in one week. They are typically doing this by not paying their employee 1 and a half times the normal hourly rate for every hour over 40 hours. An employer must compensate a worker 1 and a half times the normal hourly rate more if they are working past 40 hours a week.
Bringing A Case Against Them
A worker has the right to bring a case against an employer for wage theft. It is important to do it as soon as possible, you as the worker have the time span of two years to request compensation for wage theft in most areas of the United States. Employees are only legally allowed to be compensated for the two years before the claim was filed. Waiting could result in more lost wages from the employer. To maximize money received file a claim as soon as possible.
The worker should not be afraid of retaliation. Retaliation of any kind makes the employer’s case much weaker. Retaliation would be considered further violations of federal and state employment laws. Filing a minimum wage violation to gain the money you’ve rightfully will help set matters right.
Call the Scott Law Firm today for help with your minimum wage violation claim.