What is wage theft?
Wage theft is a crime that can go under the radar for a long time. The reason being that not a lot of people check their pay stubs if they are hourly workers. You might realize one week is a bit shorter than the others but just think its taxes but then a few weeks later you realized you weren’t paid for a few hours. Wage theft occurs when your employer withholds wages or benefits from an employee.
This can be done through multiple methods like not paying them minimum wage, having them work off the clock or simply not paying them for their labor. To keep track of your income you would want to keep track of your paystubs. It will provide you your information on how many hours you have worked, overtime hours, hourly rate, and shows you all the deductions.
Deductions can include taxes, Medicare/Medicaid, and social security. If you find yourself in this position, then by law you have the right to file a claim against them for unpaid wages. There are a few steps you have to make before you file a claim and you would want to hire an attorney to assist you in this process.
Hire an attorney
An experienced lawyer can help you with your request and be the one to contact your employer to make sure you receive your payment. Know your rights and know what to look for in the event that your employer is committing wage theft.
Similar to hiring any type of lawyer, when looking for a wage theft lawyer you want to do your research. You want to hire an experienced attorney who has experience in wage theft cases. You can call for a consultation and see if they offer what you’re looking for and if they are the best fit for you. When discussing the claim with your lawyer make sure you provide examples of how your employer has committed wage theft and possibly provide your paystubs for evidence. If your job offers your schedule online or if there are physical copies of your schedule, then you would want to provide that documentation as well.
How can I find an overtime time attorney?
The best way to find an Overtime lawyer would be to do a google search and type in “Overtime lawyers near me”. You would also use websites like Yelp to search for local firms and it also offers you a chance to research the firms as well. Social media can also be helpful in your search because the advertisements are placed to help you find people near you. You can use the recommendation feature and ask people to offer suggestions. There are also groups on Facebook that can help in your search. Find one that is specific to your area and mention you are searching for representation for an overtime case. A lot of firms are using social media as their main source of marketing so that is a great tool.
What are the top 6 common Wage Theft Methods?
The six common wage theft methods are unpaid overtime, employee misclassification, minimum wage violation, working off the clock, illegal deductions, and not being paid at all. By law, when you pass 40 hours for the week then you are entering overtime for any hours completed after that. Overtime would be time and a half meaning your hourly pay plus half of it. Employee misclassification is filing an employee as an independent contractor for the IRS.
By doing this, the employers avoid paying taxes on that employee or paying for unemployment. The employee is also unable to collect benefits like workers comp. For minimum wage violation, this means that your employer is paying you less than the legal limit. In Florida, the Florida Minimum Wage Act states that an employee who is getting paid minimum wage has to get paid the set hourly rate for that year. If they are tip workers then the hourly rate gets a direct wage that is discounted with the idea that their tips can equal, at minimum, to minimum wage.
If your job asks you to perform tasks while you are off the clock then that is a form of wage theft because you are not being paid to do work. Illegal deductions mean that your employer is removing funds from your check that are unauthorized and/illegal. The deductions should not be to the point you are getting paid under minimum wage. The last method is not being paid at all which means you are fulfilling your schedule but not receiving your paycheck.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wage theft is the withholding of the funds, salary or benefits of an employee. Examples of wage theft could be not paying the correct hourly rate. Let’s say your job said that a specific shift would be time and a half because it’s a holiday. Then you get your paycheck and you saw that they paid you your base pay for that shift. That would be an example of wage theft. They withheld the proper amount you were supposed to receive.
According to Florida Statute 448.110, for you to file a claim for unpaid wages you would first have to send in a written notice to your employer advising them that you are taking action. After you send the notice your employer will have 15 days to pay out your claim or settle the claim. During this process, you can hire an experienced attorney who has handled wage theft cases. They can assist you in writing the initial notice and will follow up with your employer to make sure you receive your lost wages.
The Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act is a bill passed by Congress that says that requires employers to give a written statement of wage rates to new hires. This form must provide information of hourly rate/ salary rate, if they are part-time or full time, how often they will get paid, what deductions will be made from paycheck and information of the business. The employee must sign the document and will receive a copy to hold in their records.
To report wage theft in Florida you would have to report it to your local Wage and Hour Division office or call 1-866-4-USWAGE. In Florida, there are seven WHD offices and you can find your closest on by going on the department of labors website and clicking Florida.
You would need to hire a lawyer who has experience with handling wage theft cases. By doing a search on google or yelp you can find lawyers in your area who are experienced in that field. You can go in for a consultation to see if they fit your needs and are the best fit for you.
Wage theft is a crime that can cost employees thousands of dollars and sometimes they wouldn’t know it until it’s too late. In Florida the current minimum wage is $8.46, meaning that the minimum hourly rate you can receive for a job is $8.46 unless you’re a tipped worker. To stay alert of your incoming wages you should keep track of your hours and paystubs. Make sure that the only deductions you see are for the standard deductions like Social security, insurance, and taxes. If you believe that you are a victim of wage theft, then contact a lawyer to help you with your claim.
At the Smith & Eulo Law Firm, we have criminal and civil defense lawyers to represent you in your case. Call us today for a free consultation at 407-930-8912 or email at email@example.com. We strive to always be available for you.