Federal and state laws require that employers pay their workers an appropriate amount given the labor they provide. The law establishes minimum wage rules and numerous other payroll obligations that employers must fulfill.
Unfortunately, some companies try to bend those rules and may convince employees that they have to accept certain violations of their wage rights. If company policy or an employer’s requests fall into one of the three categories below, they may constitute a fair wage violation that could justify a worker’s lawsuit.
Paying less than minimum wage or refusing to pay overtime
With the exception of servers working in positions where they receive gratuities, workers should generally always receive hourly pay that aligns with both federal and state minimum wage rules. Additionally, if someone is an hourly employee or a non-exempt salary employee, the company has to pay them at least 150% of their usual wage when they put in more than 40 hours in a work week. Even if company policy prohibits overtime, companies have to pay workers if they put in the hours.
Misclassifying someone as an independent contractor
One of the ways that businesses try to avoid financial responsibility to employees involves wrongfully classifying them as independent contractors. Companies can claim they have no responsibility for overtime wages or even payroll tax contributions if they have a worker fill out tax paperwork designating them as an independent contractor. A business can pass on numerous employment costs to their workers using this strategy and may deprive them of the wages they rightfully deserve.
Requiring people to work off the clock
Those in numerous industries, particularly the retail and hospitality sectors, often face pressure from employers to do work without pay. Companies sometimes even train their workers to do certain tasks before clocking in or after clocking out. Demanding that someone perform routine job functions without compensation can add up to a significant amount of time over the course of someone’s employment and is typically a wage violation.
Workers who have endured such violations may have grounds to take legal action against their employers. Filing a wage claim against a business may be one of the most effective means of fighting back against wage and hour violations that deny workers their rights.