Employment Litigation Lawyer
Generally speaking, employers have a responsibility to pay fair compensation in a timely fashion to employees for the work they do. However, the laws that govern what is considered fair compensation and timely payment can vary by state. If you believe that you are not receiving the pay you deserve, keep detailed records of the work you do and talk to your employer. It may be that there is an honest mistake that is keeping you from receiving all the pay that you deserve. As a Washington, DC employment litigation lawyer from Eric Siegel Law explains, underpayment can happen in the following situations.
1. You Are Not Receiving the Minimum Wage
The minimum wage is the lowest amount of money you can be paid per hour of work. The federal government imposes a federal minimum wage, and individual states can set their own minimum wages. The minimum wage for a state can be higher than the federal minimum, but it cannot be any lower. As of this writing, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, unless you are an employee who receives tips, in which case it is $2.13 per hour. It is illegal for an employer to pay you less than the federal minimum wage under any circumstances. If the minimum wage in your state is higher than the federal minimum, you are entitled to the higher wage of the two.
2. You Have Been Misclassified as an Independent Contractor
An independent contractor is a non-employee hired to do work for the company on a contract basis. Independent contractors retain control of the work they do and while they receive pay, they do not receive wages. They are not entitled to the rights and privileges afforded employees. For this reason, employers sometimes attempt to save money by treating employees as though they were independent contractors. However, it is not the employer who gets to decide who is an employee but the federal government. If you meet the criteria for an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act, you are an employee with rights no matter what your employer calls you.
3. You Are Not Paid Overtime
Under federal law, there are 40 hours in a workweek. There is no law preventing your employer from requiring you to work more than 40 hours per week. However, if you work more than 40 hours in a single week, you are entitled to overtime pay. For every hour that you work over the usual 40 in a given week, you should receive one and one-half times your usual wage at least. If you cannot resolve the issue with your employer on your own, a legal team can help you file a lawsuit to recover what you are owed.