Does an Employer Have to Realize They Are Violating Wage Law to Be Liable?
It is often a difficult situation for you if your employer appears not to have paid the correct wages. There are a number of different components to a weekly wage which could be affected. These could be the normal expected weekly wage, overtime, sick pay and vacation pay. You would be quick to notice if some money was missing out of your weekly wage but you might not be so sure what to expect for additions to your weekly wage. You may think that if money is missing it was probably just a simple error and just wait to see if it is corrected the next pay day. Unfortunately, not all employers are as honest as you may hope. Often, when money is missing, it’s deliberate and is called wage theft.
Your Employer Has the Duty to Track and Pay You for All of Your Hours
It is not your job as an employee to chase up your employer when you think you have been a victim of wage theft. Your employer is responsible for keeping a record of your work hours and paying your entitlement. Employers know this, so they have no excuse for engaging in wage theft.
Is an Employer Liable if They Do Not Realize that They are Not Paying you For all of Your Time?
Because calculating your wages is well and truly in the hands of your employer, it is considered a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) if it has failed to do this and wage theft takes place. Even if an employer has been half expecting you, the employee, to do this, in the end if the wrong amount has been paid to you it is the employer who is at fault. Most commonly, wage theft is when your employer has breached minimum wage law in your state and has not even paid the required overtime amount.
What You should Do If You Are Not Being Paid.
If you have calculated that what you expected in your wages isn’t what you actually get and you believe that you have been a victim of wage theft the first thing you should do is approach your supervisor or human resources (HR). If you do this by letter or email do not expect a reply immediately.
Often, your employer’s HR tactics are to try to stall the whole process by delaying a response to your complaint. From this point on you should be taking a careful note of everything to do with your pay. In particular how they respond when you explain you haven’t received the correct payment for the work you have done.
You should start tracking your hours so you have the proof to show to your employer that you haven’t received the correct wages. When you get your next pay stub compare that with the notes you have made about your hours. If you definitely find there is a discrepancy between what you get and what you should receive you cannot let your employer get away with this wage theft any longer. It is time to discuss your wage theft with an employment attorney who can work on your behalf to get the wages you deserve for the work you have done.
Speak With an Attorney
Your employment attorney is an expert dealing with wage theft situations like yours and can help you gather all the evidence you need which proves the wage theft took place. The first thing your attorney will do is present the proof of the wage theft to your employer and wait for its response.
Sometimes, employers typically ignore outside intervention when it comes to wage theft. If this happens to you, your attorney will file a complaint using the Fair Labor Standards Act by mail or in person at an office of the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor. If your attorney thinks your employer has violated wage and hour law by, for example, not paying you the minimum wage or overtime your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf to recover the unpaid wages. However, there is only a limited amount of time to file the suit. This is called the “statute of limitations.”