Wage theft is common in American workplaces. Here, employers engage in tactics meant to cheat workers of the wages that they’ve worked hard to earn. This can look like unpaid overtime, unpaid regular wages, or illegal deductions. Over the course of time, this wage theft can leave you without the financial resources that you need and deserve. In fact, the losses can be quite extensive, which is why if you think that you’ve been victimized by wage theft, then you should consider filing a claim with the Department of Labor and potentially taking legal action.
But pursing a wage theft claim isn’t as easy as it may seem. In fact, employers often have extensive arguments to defend their actions and discredit employee’s claims. Oftentimes these employers are able to levy their attacks because the affected employee simply isn’t prepared or lacks the evidence necessary to support his or her claim. With that in mind, let’s look at some steps that you can take to build your wage and hour claim.
- Obtain documentation: Documentary evidence is oftentimes key in these kinds of cases. You’ll want to keep all of your pay stubs and retain all communications with your employer, especially when they specify when you are to be paid and your rate of pay. You may want to look at your initial offer of employment to see if those terms are contained there.
- Ask pointed questions: If you feel like you’re being subjected to wage theft, then consider asking questions of your employer about why your paycheck was lower than expected or why you received it late. Again, make sure that you’re tracking these communications and retaining them. For that reason, it’s helpful to engage in written correspondence if at all possible.
- Talk to co-workers: Wage theft is prevalent in many occupations and is rarely limited to a single individual at a particular employer. By speaking with your co-workers, you may discover that the wage and hour practices being utilized against you are more widespread than you thought. These individuals can give you additional evidence to support your claim.
- Know the law: As soon as you suspect that you’re being treated unfairly in the workplace, you need to educate yourself as to the applicable law and your rights. Only then will you know what you can do to protect your interests. While you might be able to learn a little bit about applicable wage and hour laws by scouring the internet, your best bet may be to discuss your case with an experienced legal professional.
- Know your damages: If you’re going to pursue legal action against your employer, then you need to know your damages so that you can ask for the proper amount of compensation in your claim. This means calculating any backpay that you may be owed, paying close attention to every nickel and dime that your employer tried to cheat you out of.
Hold your employer accountable for illegal wage and hour practices
You deserve to be paid a fair wage and work decent hours in accordance with the law. If your employer has denied you that opportunity, then you should seek to hold your employer accountable. We know that it can be scary and stressful to take any sort of legal action, let alone action against your employer, but your voice needs to be heard and your rights need to be protected. Therefore, if you’d like to learn more about what you can do to better position yourself for success, then we encourage you to discuss the specifics of your case with a legal team that is experienced in this area of the law.