Wage theft in Arizona happens when an employer has not paid a worker for the time s/he has worked. In Arizona, employers are required to follow state and federal laws governing how much employees are paid and when they are to be paid.
If your employer has failed to properly pay you the wages you are owed, you may be entitled to take legal action to recover compensation.
The sort of wage theft which is most common in Arizona is failing to pay the $11an hour minimum wage.
Even though Arizona may have some say in its minimum wage, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that all workers, unless there are exemptions, must be paid at least the minimum wage for all hours spent at work, including preparation time.
Other examples of wage theft include not paying any wages at all and failing to pay overtime. Overtime, according to the FLSA, should be paid at one and a half times after working 40 hours, or offering a service instead of paying a wage, like a free lunch.
Wage theft by employers is often deliberate and employees are sacrificing billions of dollars of wage theft every year, much of which goes unchecked.
If your employer fails to compensate you with the right payment, you may file an unpaid wage claim with the Industrial Commission’s Labor Department.
What You Need to Know Before You File a Wage Theft Claim?
Before you file a wage theft claim there are a few things you need to know first which are:
- The claim cannot exceed $5,000;
- If the wage claim exceeds $5,000 you must file through a small claims court or superior court;
- Unpaid wages must be filed within one (1) year from the date of accrual or the Department will not be able to investigate your claim.
How to Report Wage Theft in Arizona
If the wage theft occurred in Arizona, you should go to the Industrial Commission of Arizona website and fill in the Claims for Unpaid Wages form which the Department of Labor will handle.
The Department of Labor will forward a copy of the Unpaid Wage Claim form and any attachments to your employer.
If the complaint is about not being paid the minimum wage you complete the Minimum Wage Complaint Form found on the same website which you submit to the Department of Labor in Arizona within 12 months of the infringement taking place.
You should include any copies of documents such as pay stubs which should include the dates of when each wage payment was made which are relevant to your complaint. You should ensure you keep a copy of each in your records.
The next step for the Department of Labor is notifying your employer about the claim and investigating the case. The officer given responsibility to cover the investigation will evaluate any evidence showing the wage theft and provide a written determination which will be sent to you and your employer.
This can only be appealed through the Superior Court. Any employer who fails to comply with the Determination within 10 days of the Determination is liable to pay triple the amount of the unpaid wages found that is owed to you.
Employees also have the option of filing in a civil courts; however, it is not possible they to file the wage theft complaint with both Arizona State Labor Department and the civil court.
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If you think you have been subject to wage theft by your employer, you should fill out the free evaluation form below.
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