Wage Theft as a Welder

Wage theft takes place when an employer does not give the right payments to an employee. This could include failure to pay the set minimum wage and denying employees benefits that are entitlements and are rightfully owed to the employee.

Sometimes, wage theft takes place when an employer knowingly fails to pay holiday pay, deliberately misclassifies a welder as a contractor and fails to pay any wages at all.

If you are a welder and you know you have not received payments you are entitled to, you may be covered by the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This means you can file a complaint about non-payments and seek compensation for the wage theft by your employer.

How a Welder Experiences Wage Theft

Qualified trades people such as welders are often the subject of wage theft. This is made worse by the fact welders are sometimes sent to other locations to do a job.

Wage theft could be any of the following:

  • not being paid for travel time is common as employers try to deduct the time it takes to reach each welding job from the depot and to the welding jobs itself ;
  • not receiving overtime pay if you work for more than 40 hours per week doing welding jobs when you are entitled to time and a half.
  • being deducted pay for meal breaks as a welder you didn’t take; 
  • rounding down hours worked as a welder, such as if you work between 7.30 and 5.15 but your supervisor signs you in on the log saying you worked between 8 and 5 every day.
  • paid for shift hours and not the hours worked so you should be paid for the time you start and finish your welding work if you start earlier and finish later;
  • docked for breaking rules such as not wearing appropriate welding safety gear like goggles to protect your eyes when doing a welding job. This is not permitted also if you arrive 20 minutes late for your welding work you should only be docked for the 20 minutes and not for 60 minutes like some employers try to do;
  • denied pay for preparation time such as checking your welding equipment.

What to Do If Experiencing Wage Theft as a Welder

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) is the body that is responsible for welder’s wage theft. If you believe while working as a welder you were the victim of wages theft by your employer there are several things you can do.

The first step is not always the easiest as you will need to approach your employer first to ask why you haven’t been paid what you are entitled to.

Sometimes, it is just a question of miscalculation that has resulted in the error. However, more often than not, the non-payment is deliberate.

If your employer doesn’t respond to your inquiry, then you may file a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner's Office in your local area. You must ensure you have the evidence to show that your lack of payment is deliberate. 

The sorts of information you may need to provide is proof you started your welding job at a certain time when your employer had recorded a later time. 

Next Steps for Filing a Wage Theft Claim

After you have filed the wage claim a notification will be sent out to you and your employer. Typically a settlement conference will be timetabled for most wages theft claims involving welders.

At this conference, a Deputy Labor Commissioner tries to help you and your employer to reach at an agreement for paying the wages theft claim. If a settlement is not reached, then your claim will be heard at a hearing. Soon you will be provided with a hearing time and date.

At the hearing, your employer and you are required to testify under oath and you will then submit evidence regarding the wage theft claim. You will need to provide all the evidence at the hearing.

When the hearing is over you will be sent a letter with the hearing officer’s decision and the payment that the employer has to pay to you. If you don’t agree with the decision you can file an appeal with the Superior Court. This right is given to your employer as well.

Contact an Employment Law Attorney to Help With Your Claim

Trying to file a wages claim as a welder is never easy so it is always best to get advice from an employment law attorney who will guide you through the process.

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