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What exactly is wage theft?

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2020 | Class Actions

If you’re an employee that works hard, then you expect to get paid fairly for what you do. It’s more than discouraging if you notice that your pay is lower than what you expected when you eventually receive your paycheck. It may be downright illegal. This type of impropriety is known as wage theft. There are a few common ways that employers engage in this.

One way that employers engage in wage theft is by misclassifying their workers. Individuals who are classified as employees have their payroll taxes taken out of their paychecks for them. They’re also entitled to many legal protections including unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation. Anyone classified as an independent contractor isn’t entitled to such benefits, and therefore, may end up making far less than what they expected.

Another deceptive way that employers rob their workers of money is by having them work off the clock and not paying overtime when they should.

There are laws on the books requiring employers to offer their employees breaks after they’ve worked for a certain amount of time. Workers generally aren’t allowed to complete work-related tasks during this time. If an employer forces their worker to continue performing their job through a break, to come in early or stay over without additional compensation, then they may be accused of wage theft.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits some workers from receiving overtime pay for any time that they work more than 40 hours. Many individuals are eligible for it though. Any employer who doesn’t pay overtime when it’s due may have engaged in wage theft.

Both the federal and state government have minimum wage requirements. Your employer may have engaged in impropriety if you’re paid less than that or your employer takes illegal deductions for room and board or other expenses that drop you below that rate.

West Virginia employers are required to pay their workers the agreed-to rate which is at or above minimum wage. Charleston companies must also adhere to all overtime and other related workplace laws when compensating for their employees.

If your employer hasn’t adequately paid you for the time that you’ve worked, has taken unnecessary deductions or not paid you at all, then you should consult with an attorney. Your lawyer can help you efficiently address employee rights violations like these, so you can recover the money that you deserve.

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