When you show up to work there is an expectation that you will be paid fairly and on time. Your employer is responsible for making sure that you are compensated for the work that is being done, and when that does not happen it might be a form of wage theft.
You may experience wage theft as a service technician. It is important to understand what wage theft is, how it might impact you and what to do if you think you have been a victim.
Wage theft refers to any instance when an employee is not paid for work that has been done. It includes not being paid according to local minimum wage laws, not receiving overtime payments, not being paid for the total number of hours worked (including time shaving), not being given a final paycheck after leaving a job and not being paid at all.
Wage theft can be a problem for service technicians because their jobs often take them away from an office. Schedules vary and there is a large portion of the day that is spent traveling between jobs. If you suspect that you have been the victim of wage theft as a service technician, you should consider consulting with an employment lawyer.
When Does It Become Wage Theft?
If you notice that your paychecks do not match up with the number of hours you worked, or if the rate you are being paid is lower than local minimum wage guidelines, then this could be wage theft.
When it comes to your pay rate, your company should pay you the prevailing minimum wage rate starting at the local level. Some cities have their own minimum wage guidelines, and the local minimum wage rate takes precedence over state and even federal rates. If you are salaried, then you must be paid at least minimum wage.
It becomes wage theft when you are not being paid for the total amount of work being done, or if it meets any of the conditions listed above. In order to determine your next steps, you need to understand the nature of the problem.
What to Do When Experiencing Wage Theft
The first step in a wage theft situation is to speak with your employer. You might begin with your supervisor, human resources or payroll, depending on the size of your company.
When you speak with the person responsible for your paychecks, find out why you were not paid properly. It could be as simple as human error, in which case the problem should be corrected immediately.
However, if your supervisor or HR do not take action, then you could be looking at a wage theft situation. Evidence is the most important component of wage theft cases, so you need to document the work that you have done, including travel time, the number of hours you worked as well as the days and times those work hours took place, pay stubs and paychecks and any work contracts or job descriptions that you have that describe how you are to be paid.
Once you have gathered your evidence, you can either file a claim with the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) or you may file a private lawsuit against your employer. You should consider speaking with an employment attorney, who can help you determine the best course of action based on your specific situation.
Speak with an Attorney
If you think you have been the victim of wage theft as a service technician, an attorney can help you decide what to do. Dealing with wage theft is stressful enough.
You need to be paid and now you have to file a claim or lawsuit against your employer to ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled. Working with an experienced employment attorney may help ensure that you have a strong case and you receive the maximum compensation possible.
Many employment attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you are not required to pay any fees upfront and you will only be responsible for paying fees if you win your case. That means there is very little risk in hiring an employment attorney, but the upside can make a huge difference. Some do require payment upfront, so discuss payment options.
Though working with an employment attorney will not guarantee that you will win your claim, it may greatly improve your chance of a successful outcome. In many cases you could be entitled to lost wages plus interest, legal fees and possible compensation for emotional distress.
To get connected with an employment attorney that may be able to help with your wage theft claim, fill out a Free Case Evaluation.