Seasoned Lawyers to Redress Wage and Hour Violations
One of the most important rights for many employees is the guarantee of a minimum wage and protections to take breaks to eat and rest while on the job. Though the laws are complicated, an employer who agrees to pay a certain compensation for work must follow through on their end of the agreement and cannot illegally deduct wages. If you have questions or believe you are not being paid fully or fairly, speak to the trusted employment attorneys at Walton Law right away.
Sue for Misclassification Violations that Cause Harm
Because exempt employees are not required to be paid according to minimum wage laws, some employers try to make life easier for themselves by misclassifying workers as exempt or hiring people as independent contractors. To properly classify an employee as exempt, employers must be able to show the employee spends most of their time performing administrative, professional, or executive duties, and meet other requirements.
Employees vs. Independent Contractors
Independent contractors often lose out on important benefits like paid vacation, workers’ compensation, and overtime. Generally, they are self-employed and can accept work or not as they please. Usually they own their own equipment and supplies and pay for their own training, and also set their own hours. In contrast, employees are controlled by their employer. An employer establishes what work the employee does and when and where they do it. The employer will train an employee and provide them with the necessary tools, equipment, and supplies. In exchange for this, employees may be provided with health insurance, 401(k), holiday pay, and paid sick leave by their employer.
Minimum Wage Violations
Non-exempt employees must be paid at least minimum wage. It can be difficult to determine which wage applies to you because there are exceptions for some workers and some industries. However, in general, nonexempt employees must be paid at least a certain amount per hour for “hours worked” – not just compensable time performing regular job duties during their shift. Also, employers are not permitted to round hours down on a time clock if it means an overall loss of pay due to the decrease in an employee’s hours.
- Training Time – Non-exempt employees must usually be paid for time spent training, in meetings, or for similar activities unless they are unrelated to the employee’s work and are voluntarily attended.
- Preparation Time – Time spent donning protective equipment or setting up before a shift may also be compensable.
- Travel Time – Employers usually don’t have to pay for an employee’s regular commute to and from work. However, if an employer directs an employee to travel, run errands, or go to a different office, they may be required to pay for that time.
- On-Call or Waiting Time – Even if simply waiting for something, employees who must remain at work on-premises must be paid for all hours.
Exempt employees aren’t entitled to overtime. However, non-exempt employees are typically entitled to time-and-a-half when working more than 8 hours in a single day or 40 hours in a single week. They must also be paid this overtime rate for the first 8 hours they work on the 7th consecutive day during a workweek. The rate goes to double their usual rate when working more than 12 hours in a single day or any time over the first 8 hours worked on the 7th consecutive day in a workweek.
Commissions, Tips, and Piece Rate Employees
Special rules apply to piece rate employees, and to commissions and tips, which can be part of an employee’s income.
Meal and Rest Break Violations
Sometimes private employers fail to provide legally required meal and rest periods. These violations are compensable. Your employer need not force you to take your meal break, but they can’t discourage you for taking it, or you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
Contact a Lawyer Who Understands How to Fight Your Employer
Whether your employer knows it is supposed to pay you more or allow you to take certain breaks, but has not addressed the problem, or you are afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation, the skilled employment lawyers of Walton Law, APC are here to help. Get in touch with us at (866) 338-7079 or complete our contact page.