Not Being Paid Agreed Upon Amount as a Custodian

If you are hired as a custodian, you will have a negotiated your pay rate with your employer before you start work and this should have been included in your job offer letter. The wage you are offered as a custodian should be at least the minimum wage which is clarified in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If a state offers an amount that is more than the minimum wage this is the amount you should receive.

Not all employers follow the law and quite often a custodian may discover that the amount of pay written on the pay check is not quite as much as expected. This could be wage theft which is at times conducted knowingly by an employer so that it can save money. If you believe you are a victim of wage theft, your employer may have violated the Wages and Hours laws that are featured in the FLSA.

What to Look for to Decide if You are a Victim of Wage Theft

The law states that all paystubs must be itemized and that includes amounts that have been deducted such as compulsory taxes and insurance. Your pay stub should show the exact amount you will get after the deductions have been made. This is your net pay. You should check the following on your pay stub to see how you have been a victim of wage theft:

  • your net wages after deductions;
  • your gross wages before deductions;
  • your employer’s contact details;
  • the total number of hours worked;
  • the itemized list of deductions;
  • check to see if it is your name on the paystub and not somebody else’s;
  • check to see if the last four digits of your Social Security Number and/or employee ID number are correct;
  • the dates of the pay period.

Often illegal deductions are made so it is worth checking the paycheck closely. There are some quite legal deductions such as:

  • tax and insurance which your employer is required to deduct;
  • accommodation and meals, if agreed to.

If you believe there are some undocumented deductions that you have not seen before, it might be worth having your case reviewed by an attorney.

There are some common reasons for making deductions which are in some states not permissible such as:

  • deductions for the use of equipment or tools is not permitted in many states like California;
  • deductions for breakages of cleaning and gardening equipment is not typically allowed unless the breakage was deliberately done.

However, as a custodian some employers might call you an independent contractor, which means you are not entitled to the minimum wage or overtime so that could be a reason why your pay is not what you expected. The minimum wage law of the Fair Labor Standards Act does not apply the minimum wage to independent contractors. However, if you are supposed to be classified as an employee, you should receive the minimum wage and time and half for working more than 40 hours per week.

What to Do If You if You Are a Victim of Wage Theft

If after carefully checking through your paystubs and checking your hours worked with your own record and you find your employer has not paid you in full for those hours you have worked when employed as a custodian or you have been misclassified as a contractor, you will first of all have to speak with your HR as there is a chance that it could be typically an honest mistake. If you submit your query in writing, you should keep a record as this can used as evidence later.

If your HR fails to respond, then this could be an indication that the wage theft was not a mistake. If the error is admitted it will save a lot of time but you must be sure that the deductions made from your pay are returned. If time passes and the deductions have not been paid discuss the matter with an attorney who can provide expert advice. The attorney will tell you what your employer can deduct from your paycheck. If the wage theft appears to be a deliberate act, then you should consider filing a wage theft claim.

Filing a Wage Theft Claim

Your attorney will help you file a wage theft claim with the Wages and Hours Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor in your state. On your claim form you must include:

  • your full name;
  • your most current address and contact details;
  • your employer’s name;
  • the company location;
  • the company’s contact information;
  • the manager’s name and contact details;
  • your job description as a custodian;
  • when and how you were paid.

Providing copies of your old pay stubs and any personal records you have kept that includes the hours worked may help your attorney to win a successful wage theft claim.

Speak With an Attorney

An employment law attorney will be an expert in cases like this and will help to ensure you get your deductions back.

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