Wage theft is a problem across the country. It happens every day in giant corporations and in small businesses alike, and in many cases it happens without employees realizing it. Employers have an obligation to ensure that employees are being paid fairly and on time for their work they do, and when that doesn’t happen, then you might have a wage theft claim.
There are a number of examples of wage theft. It can include being misclassified to avoid receiving overtime payments, shaving time from your timecard, not being paid overtime, not being paid according to minimum wage guidelines, not receiving a final paycheck upon leaving a job, not being paid for the total number of hours worked or not being paid at all.
An employer can use an electronic timekeeping system that shaves time from timecards automatically, or it can clock you out for meal breaks you didn’t take. These would all be examples of wage theft and they might be happening without you being aware of it.
In some cases, you might not be paid as the result of human error. Your timecard might not have been approved on time, or a clerical error could prevent your direct deposit from being sent.
Human error happens, but mistakes should be corrected immediately. When it comes to wage theft, more often than not employers will try to hide or deny a problem, and that forces you to file a claim.
If you believe that you have been the victim of wage theft, you need to take action. New Mexico does not have a deadline to file wage theft claims, but the longer you wait the longer you will go without the money you are owed.
What You Need to Know Before You File a Wage Theft Claim
As a New Mexico resident, minimum wage is set at $7.50 per hour, which means an employer cannot pay less than that amount. Employers are not allowed to deduct anything from an employee’s salary other than mandated taxes or court fees unless the employee agreed to it at the time he or she was hired. This might include deductions for uniforms, parking passes, voluntary life insurance or supplies that are not provided under the terms of your employment.
New Mexico’s Labor Relations Division is the governmental agency responsible for enforcing wage theft issues such as the payment of wages, minimum wage and overtime labor laws under the state’s Wage Pay Act and Minimum Wage Act.
How to Report Wage Theft
If you suspect that you have been the victim of wage theft, you should make sure that you have as much evidence as possible. Examples of evidence include copies of your timecards, paychecks and pay stubs that show that you have not been paid properly.
If there have been deductions made from your paycheck, then you should refer back to your hiring paperwork to determine whether they were made with your approval or not. The more evidence you can provide, the stronger your case will be.
You can file your claim online or in person with the Labor Relations Division. Local branches are available in most cities. You will fill out a Wage Claim Form and the form must be completed as best as possible. Since you do not have a deadline to file your claim, it is a good idea to make sure you have all of the evidence you need prior to submitting your claim.
Fill Out a Free Evaluation Form
There are few things as stressful as dealing with a wage theft case. Not only are you dealing with not being paid fairly, but you are also filing a claim against your employer and that can be intimidating. You might consider speaking with an employment lawyer for guidance.
An experienced employment attorney will be able to help you gather evidence to build a strong case. They understand the laws, particularly New Mexico laws, and they will be able to review your claim so that you know it is as complete as possible when you submit it.
Though working with an employment attorney does not guarantee that you will win your claim, it does greatly improve the chances of success. Not only that, but many employment attorneys work on a contingency basis so there may no payment required upfront and you only pay if you win your claim. Others do require a payment upfront, so discuss payment options with your attorney.
If you believe that you have been the victim of wage theft, you should fill out a Free Case Evaluation for your information to be sent to a lawyer that takes cases in your area today.