It’s time to stop making excuses for your employer. If you’ve been getting the feeling that something’s wrong with your paycheck, maybe it’s time to seek the advice of an employment attorney.
Unfortunately, underpaying workers is a practice that’s frighteningly common. In fact, one out of four low-wage workers in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York turned out to be paid less than minimum wage according to a study.
How to Check if You’re Getting Paid Right
Getting paid less than what you’ve worked for is, unfortunately, more common than you think, but luckily, there are ways to make sure that you get what you deserve.
You can visit the Interfaith Worker Justice’s project site WageTheft.org and compare the illustration to your own paycheck. Remember that you should be paid for all the hours you spent at work, from preparation time, cleanup, or traveling between job locations.
The US Department of Labor has set the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, but if you live in the District of Columbia and the states listed here, your employer should pay a higher rate and not the federal minimum.
If your working hours constitute more than 40 hours in a working week, consult with an overtime dispute attorney if you think you have been receiving less than the required overtime pay, which is time-and-a-half your regular rate. Regarding deductions, your pay stub should only list Medicare, Social Security, and federal, state, and local income taxes. Office equipment and uniforms should not be deducted from you.
Is Your Paycheck Wrong?
Here’s what you should do:
Talk to HR or your boss: If it’s an honest mistake, your employer should correct it as soon as possible and give you your unpaid wages in your next payout.
Keep your own records: With the promised pay rate in mind, make note of the usual time you arrive at work and what time you usually leave. This should include your break, travel to and from job locations, cleanup time, and prep time. DOL has a work calendar you can use, or make your own if this helps you understand your records better.
Ask your co-workers: If you think you haven’t been paid right, chances are, your co-workers have been too. If anyone has the same problem, act together to get more attention from the heads of the company. Remember that you can always have an employment attorney to back you up.
Arrange a meeting with the boss or HR: It’s more effective if you address the issue as a group. Let the heads of the company know that you’ve been receiving less than what you should have and ask for the dues as soon as possible.
File a complaint: If it didn’t turn out well for you, file a complaint with the DOL’s Wages and Hour Division. You can also reach out to the state labor agency in your state.
Get the Help of an attorney: Let’s say you live in LA; contact a Los Angeles employment lawyer right away and sue your employer for violating state wage and hour laws. As a group, you could bring a class or collective action, or you can always press charges on your own. However, it may be easier to find an overtime disputes lawyer in Los Angeles for class action lawsuits. Your best bet is to seek the cooperation of your co-workers.