Wage theft is a big problem in workplaces all over the country. When an employee shows up for work, there is an expectation that he will be paid fairly and in a timely manner for all work performed. Unfortunately, there are situations where employees are not paid fairly for their work due to digital wage theft.
Generally, wage theft refers to any situation where an employee is not paid. This includes not being paid according to minimum wage guidelines, not being paid overtime, not receiving a final paycheck after leaving a job, not being paid for the total number of hours worked or not being paid at all.
When it comes to digital wage theft, your total number of hours worked is digitally manipulated, resulting in being paid less because your timecard shows that you worked less than you actually worked.
If you believe that you have been the victim of digital wage theft, then you might be able to file a wage theft claim.
What Is Digital Wage Theft?
Digital wage theft is something that can happen when employers use electronic timekeeping systems to log their employees’ hours.
Some timekeeping systems can be programmed to “round” hours so that if you clock in between 7:52am and 7:59am, it will count as 8am regardless of the actual time. If you are losing seven minutes each day you work in an five-day work week, that adds up to over thirty minutes. If that also happens at the end of your day, and even during lunch, then you could be losing almost two hours of pay each week.
Time shaving is also a big problem for employees. With an electronic timekeeping system, there is also the possibility that someone could alter your timecard and shave time from your paycheck.
You might also discover that your employer is automatically deducting time for breaks from your hours, even if you are not taking those breaks. Any time you are asked to work off the clock, or when your breaks are deducted even though you have not taken them, all constitute examples of wage theft.
What To Do If Your Employer Is Committing Digital Wage Theft?
If your employer is shaving time from your paycheck, then you need to take action. It is not enough for you to work around the timekeeping system to try to avoid rounding or missing breaks, nor should you have to do these things.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects workers against wage theft and is governed by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). If you have been the victim of digital wage theft you can file a claim with the WHD, or you can file a private lawsuit against your employer.
In order to have a strong case, you need to gather evidence. You should have copies of your timecards, when possible, and copies of your paycheck stubs. While rounding is easy to spot on a timecard, it is more difficult to demonstrate time shaving and having breaks that you have not taken deducted. You should gather any evidence that shows how long you worked on a day in question, or anything that supports the idea that you were working even though your timecard shows that you were on break.
After gathering evidence, you can file a claim with the WHD, either in person at a local branch office, online or by phone. You might also file a private lawsuit against your employer. In either case it can be helpful to work with an employment attorney who can help ensure that you have a strong case and receive the maximum damages that you might be entitled to, including lost wages, legal fees and possible compensation for emotional distress.
Help With A Digital Wage Theft Claim
If you believe that you have been the victim of digital wage theft, you should speak with an experienced employment attorney to figure out your next steps. An employment attorney will help you to understand the law and determine your best course of action. Not only that, but working with an expert will help to alleviate some of the stress from the already tense situation.
Though hiring an employment attorney does not guarantee that you will win your case, it will greatly improve your chances for a favorable outcome. Your attorney will be able to make sure you have all of the evidence you need to be successful, along with making sure that your case is as strong as possible so that you might be awarded the maximum damages available.
What’s more is that many employment attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning that they will not require you to pay any fees up front to take your case, and you will only be responsible for paying if you do not win your case.
For more information about how an employment lawyer might be able to help you with your case, fill out a free case evaluation.