As an employee, you are guaranteed payment for the work you do. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects you from being taken advantage of by your employer. If you work overtime, then you get paid one and one-half your normal salary. You can’t have your wage taken because you have to pay for work-related supplies, tools or uniforms.
Despite what employee rights say, employers may still use underhanded tactics to take money from right under their workers’ noses. How can employers steal from their employees? Here’s what you should know:
Spotting wage theft
Wage theft is so common that there are clear signs when it’s being done. Your employer may commit wage theft in a few ways:
- Unpaid overtime: your employer may not consider your extra work as overtime. Some employers will only pay a portion of overtime. This can be especially prevalent if you were required to work overtime hours, but your employer won’t pay for the extra income.
- Withheld wages: your employer may be fabricating violations to withhold your wages. This issue could escalate if you were fired and still unpaid. Additionally, you may have taken a mandatory break which caused your employer to withhold wages.
- No reimbursement: some employers ask their workers to pay for tools and uniforms upfront without reimbursing them for the purchases. Some employers may even dock their workers’ wages to pay for supplies.
- Employee misclassification: contracted employees aren’t paid the same as regular employees. Because of this, you may be classified as contracted, which would allow your employer to pay you less and strip you of your employee protection.
- Miscalculated wages: the most obvious way to tell if your wages are being stolen is if your salary doesn’t add up to your work hours. Employers may not pay for donning and doffing.
You have a right to fair wages. If you find that your paycheck isn’t adding up and your employer isn’t paying out, then it may be time to reach out for legal help when building a wage theft claim.