Unpaid Wages Lawsuit
It seems obvious that you should get paid for the work you do. Unfortunately, employers often try to underpay workers using deceptive tactics.
But getting paid for work isn’t just a moral obligation; it’s a legal right protected by law.
The Fair Labor Standards Act was first passed by the government in 1938 and established the right to a minimum wage, overtime pay, and child labor standards. The law has been continually updated and amended in the ensuing years to better protect workers from opportunistic employers.
The law also offers some protections against unpaid wages.
What are Unpaid Wages?
Unpaid wages is a term used when employees are not compensated by an employer. When an employee renders service to a business or person, they are entitled to fair compensation under federal law. In fact, federal law mandates that the minimum wage is set at $7.25.
This means that anyone who works for a set period in an agreed-upon manner deserves to be paid at least the minimum wage for their work.
When an employee does not get paid within a reasonable timeframe, that money is considered unpaid wages.
Common Causes of Unpaid Wages Lawsuits
Unpaid wages violations are not limited to an employer refusing to give an employee a paycheck. It may come in different forms as well.
Minimum Wage Violations
Unpaid wages can manifest themselves as minimum wage violations. Some states like California have a higher minimum wage rate than the federal minimum wage. The law indicates the higher rate of the two shall be applied. If a company does not pay you the minimum wage, you may be entitled to unpaid wages.
Underpaying Service Workers
Workers in the service industry must also reach the minimum wage threshold. However, they can be paid at a lesser hourly rate as long as their tips help them reach minimum wage. If an employee does not reach the threshold, an employer must increase their wages to make up the difference. This may also be classified as unpaid wages.
Breach of Contract
If an employee leaves a company, the final paycheck should include compensation for all the time worked. A bounced check or underpayment could result in an unpaid wages claim. A breach of contract may also include such things as severance, unused vacation pay, and any relevant commissions that were not paid.
Employees who are considered independent contractors do not have the same protections by law. However, if an employee is incorrectly classified as an independent contractor who is exempt from overtime pay, the employee may be entitled to receive that pay.
Filing an Unpaid Wages Claim
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is enforced by the Wage-Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, according to Workplace Fairness. Under the law, you are entitled to file a claim with the labor commissioner of your state if your employer does not pay you the money you are owed.
Not only is it illegal to fire anyone who files a claim but violations of the FLSA can result in criminal prosecution along with fines up to $10,000. Repeated violations could also lead to heavier fines and imprisonment.
Complaints are followed by an investigation and the assistance in recovering back wages.
ow an Unpaid Wages Lawyer Can Help
Aside from filing a claim, a wronged employee may also file a private lawsuit against an employer.
An experienced attorney will be able to walk you through the legal process and determine whether your employer has violated any state or federal law.
Lawyers have the knowledge and expertise to inform employees about the quickest and most efficient way to receive unpaid wages. They can also give a breakdown on the most cost-effective way to pursue the wages, whether it’s through filing a claim with the state or filing a lawsuit.
In many cases, a lawyer will ensure that all unpaid wages and attorneys fees are recovered in a lawsuit.