If your paycheck gets deposited directly into your bank account, you may not actually spend much time looking at it. As long as you get the notification that the transaction has taken place, you likely don’t sit down to review that you received the exact amount that you were owed. You probably just assume that your employer is paying you the correct amount.
But they might not be. Employers will sometimes use sneaky tricks to try to steal money from their own employees, counting on the fact that employees will not notice. This is why it’s important to understand how this can happen, so that you can be in a stronger position to safeguard your interests.
Paying you too little
For one thing, you must be paid at least minimum wage. An employer who attempts to pay less is in violation of the law. Minimum wage is always changing, so there are sometimes employers who believe that they have to pay a lower amount than they actually do – maybe they still think minimum wage is the same as it was a few years back. It’s very important to make sure that you were being paid the amount currently mandated by state and federal law.
Employers are generally not allowed to keep tips that were given directly to employees. Even when a business uses a tips pool, owners and managers must be excluded from this pool. A business owner who takes the tips meant for their employees is stealing their wages directly.
Not paying for overtime
Additionally, you deserve time and a half pay for overtime, and you need to be wary if your employer denies it. Maybe they just tell you that you don’t get overtime, and that you have the same set hourly rate no matter what. Or maybe they allow you to take comp time, but they only give you one hour off for every extra hour worked – rather than an hour and a half. Either way, this may be theft of your wages because many workers are entitled to be paid at an overtime rate for these additional hours.
What options do you have?
The above are just a few examples of how employers may try to take money from their employees, and employees sometimes feel powerless to do anything about it. But you do have legal options if you are not receiving just compensation. Consider seeking legal guidance to better understand what steps to take to get the pay that you truly deserve.