Janitorial services typically include essential jobs, such as cleaning, removing trash, mopping floors and bathrooms and sweeping in a variety of buildings. Despite the importance of these types of jobs they may be continually the target of wage theft by employers because the employers think they can get away with robbing people of low but essential wages.
Fortunately, if workers has evidence that their employer is performing wage theft, the employer may end up in court and told to pay fines or even face imprisonment for repeated offenses.
How Does Wage Theft Occur in Janitorial Services?
These are some common ways that wage theft takes place which are:
- failing to pay the federal minimum wage set at $7.25 per hour:
- not paying the correct overtime rate which is time and a half of the normal hourly wage;
- pretending the worker is a contractor so doesn’t fit in with the Wages and Hours Laws.
Not paying the minimum wage is one of the commonest examples of wage theft. Many states have higher minimum wages than the federal minimum. The employer should be paying whatever is the higher of the two minimums, not the lower.
Generally, rules about what employers should pay janitorial workers are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is a federal law, as well as state laws administered by the state Department of Labor, or its equivalent. Overtime rates are covered by the FLSA, which states that all employers need to pay a rate of time and a half for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any 7day period.
Janitors may need to wear protective gear and uniforms as part of their work. The cost of any uniforms and equipment they need to use for their work should not be deducted from their wages by their employer according to the FLSA. This would be another example of wage theft in this industry.
Preventing Wage Theft When Working in Janitorial Services
Here are some quick tips for preventing wage theft while working in janitorial services.
- First of all you should keep a close watch on overtime pay as this is the first place where money could go missing.
- Second is keeping copies of all paychecks.
- Check with fellow janitorial workers to see what they have been paid.
What to Do If You Experienced Wage Theft in Janitorial Services
When you find out you have been a victim of wage theft there are a number of steps you can take. The first is to bring the discrepancy up with your own employer, showing any extract from your employment contract if you have one and wage stubs to show that you haven’t received the correct wages.
If you don’t get any success, you should then report the incident to the Wages and Hours Division at the Department of Labor. You need to do that on the form provided which is either sent by mail or handed in to the office.
They will want evidence to prove you are the potential victim of wage theft. If they are assured that wage theft took place they will probably contact your employer and ask for a clarification of the wage theft.
If your employer decides to keep quiet the only option is to file a lawsuit to try and get the unpaid wages returned. You may be asked to file the lawsuit yourself. If you decide to do this you will need help from an employment law attorney to guide you through the process. As soon as you have won the lawsuit your employer will be expected to pay any unpaid wages to you as well as damages which could amount to the equivalent
For help filing your claim, complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page to get connected with a lawyer that takes cases in your area today.