It is a sad reality that many employers try to cut corners and pinch pennies by finding ways to pay their employees less than what they legally earned. This practice is most prevalent in blue collar industries where employees need every penny of their paycheck, but may not be in a position to argue with their employer or stand up for their rights.
The consumer rights lawyers at Markoff Leinberger understand your plight, and will help determine if you are owed money as well as help protect you if your employer decides to illegally retaliate. Call us at 877-905-5161 to schedule your free, confidential consultation.
What Is Wage Theft?
Wage theft occurs when an employee is not paid correctly for hours worked. Some of the most common examples of wage theft include:
- Not paying you for all hours worked
- Not paying you for overtime - either not paying overtime at all, or calculating overtime pay incorrectly
- Paying below minimum wage
- Withholding an employee's final paycheck
- Not including unused vacation time in the final paycheck
- Incorrect utilization of a tip pool
See our guide on what to do about overtime violations for more information on how you should handle your case to improve your chances of success and compensation.
Employers may find crafty ways to manipulate your hours worked, such as rounding up or down when clocking in or out, automatically clocking you in and out for breaks and lunches even if you were still working, or intentionally miscalculating overtime pay. Other times, they are more blatant, and may simply require you to work off the clock even though this is illegal.
Employers also often misclassify employees as independent contractors in order to avoid paying benefits and taxes. Independent contractors are responsible for setting their own hours and are free to perform their work however they want, wherever they want. If your employer classifies you as an independent contractor but sets your hours and requires you to be in a certain location, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
Real Examples of Wage Theft Cases
Here are two real examples of employers that illegally withheld wages or benefits:
- In late 2005, a man in Atlanta agreed to work for a company that was contributing to the Hurricane Katrina clean-up effort in New Orleans. The job promised free room and board plus an hourly wage. However, this worker received no food or accommodation after he arrived in New Orleans. It also took his employer weeks to provide him with the health and safety equipment necessary for the toxic clean-up work he was doing. He was paid much less than he was promised when hired.
- A Polish woman who immigrated to Chicago in 2000 took a job at a car wash that mainly employed recent immigrants. She quickly learned that her wages were below minimum wage, and Spanish-speaking employees' wages were even worse. The company required workers to pay out of pocket for work necessities such as uniforms. Plus, in order to avoid paying overtime, management would schedule employees at multiple different car washes instead of a single location for 40 or more hours.
If either of these cases sounds like yours, don't hesitate to contact our wage theft lawyers for your free consultation. There are many, many different ways that employers try to cheat employees out of money, so call us if you even suspect that you are being taken advantage of.
Schedule Your Wage Theft or Overtime Violation Free Consultation
If you suspect that you are not getting paid fairly for your hours worked and overtime, call the experienced wage theft lawyers at Markoff Leinberger today at 877-905-5161 for your free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.
We serve clients in Chicago and nationwide.