Despite the laws on the books meant to prevent such abuse, countless employees every year have wages that they earned through their hard work taken by their bosses through unfair means. Many workers never try to fight for the right to their agreed-upon payment, and instead try to avoid retaliation or loss of their job. If you find yourself struggling with what to do after wage theft, our experienced lawyers are determined to fight for you. Get in touch with an Atlanta employment law attorney today.
What Is Wage Theft?
When an employer does not pay you what they agreed to when they hired you, that is called wage theft. The Department of Labor has seen employers do this in several ways, from stealing tips to not paying overtime to misclassifying a worker or their job functions (and hence quietly changing the worker’s remuneration).
What Should I Do if I Believe I’m a Victim?
If you’re worried that you may not have been paid what you earned, your step should be getting yourself prepared. Read up on state and federal laws. Review your employee handbook. Seek legal advice from a lawyer who can guide you as to what are the next best steps given the circumstances of your case.
Most importantly, be sure to gather supporting documentation. This can include your contract, time sheets, pay stubs, witness statements, and work emails and texts.
After getting ready, you’ll have a series of decisions to make. You can:
Begin a complaint with the United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
Begin a lawsuit in state court. If your employer has paid you less than the minimum wage, you may be able to file a private lawsuit to recover past compensation, damages, fees, and other related costs.
Begin a lawsuit in federal court. Federal laws state that you must be paid at least the minimum wage for your work. However, if you were paid less than what you were owed but more than the minimum wage, federal courts might not be able to help.
Depending on the specificities of your workplace, you might also be able to file a grievance if you are a union employee. Unions protect employees in two ways. First, unions negotiate wages and benefits for their employees. Secondly, unions establish processes to submit and process grievances.
Don’t Let an Employer Get Away with Wage Theft
We understand how demoralizing it can be when your employer has been paying you less than your wage, or reducing your earnings by stealing your tips and similar behavior. Make a call to our office today and let us tell you what your options are in light of the specific circumstances of your case.