Protecting yourself from wage theft

You rely on your paycheck to cover your daily expenses. When your employer does not pay you fairly, it can be challenging to make ends meet. If your employer has violated wage and hour laws, you could be one of the thousands of workers each year eligible for compensation. The United States Department of Labor reports that last year workers recovered over $300 million in back wages. Knowing your rights can be vital in identifying wage theft and taking action against it.

Your employer must pay you a fair minimum wage.

Federal law requires employers to pay almost all workers at least $7.25 an hour unless their city or state mandates a higher amount.

If eligible, you should receive overtime pay.

While the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not cover all employees, it does include many workers. These workers must receive overtime pay for any hours that they work over 40 hours per week.

Your employment status should be classified correctly.

Because the FLSA only covers specific employees, some employers will intentionally misclassify their workers in an effort to avoid paying them for their overtime work.

Your employer must pay you for the full hours that you work.

Employers that do not pay their employees for their full hours violate the law. These employers may leave employees unpaid for additional tasks like work-related travel or the time to prepare safety equipment, pressure their workers to do “off the clock” work or keep inaccurate records.

When you believe that your employer has violated your rights, speak to an attorney about whether you are eligible for back pay and other damages. You can take legal action and fight for fair treatment and fair pay from your employer.