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Understanding the basics of wage theft

Under both state and federal law, workers are entitled to certain wage and hour protections. In general, workers are not only entitled to a minimum wage, they are entitled to the wages they have been promised they will earn in exchange for their performance as detailed in their employment contracts. However, even workers who have not signed explicit employment contracts are protected under the law. This last point is especially important for migrant workers and other populations who may not have access to explicit contractual language.

When workers suspect that they have not been properly compensated for their regular work, have not been granted proper overtime pay or have not been given access to legally-mandated breaks, they may choose to file wage and hour claims. Filing a claim related to wage theft can be frightening. Many workers fear retaliation or termination when they think about speaking up for their rights. Thankfully, an experienced attorney can help you to sort out your legal options and avoid retaliation when possible.

The ways in which employers commit wage theft are varied. One recent case involved an employer which insisted that its workers sign blank time cards. After the cards had been signed, the employer then noted that workers had spent less time on the job than they had. Other employers deprive their workers of breaks or overtime pay. Whatever your unique circumstances may be, if you suspect that your employer has not adequately compensated you for your time on the job, please consider speaking with an experienced attorney.

Source: Findlaw Law & Daily Life, “What Is Wage Theft? When Can You Sue?” Daniel Taylor, Sep. 8, 2014

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