27 Jan 2023

Tactics Some Employers Use to Underpay Employees

Discussing your case with an employee rights attorney can help you determine your best options , and what, if any, compensation you could be entitled to recoup.

Unpaid Overtime

Through the federal overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), unless exempt, employees who are covered by FLSA must be compensated with overtime for hours that are worked in excess of a 40-hour workweek. The overtime rate must be no less than time and a half of the employee’s regular rate of pay. When employees are denied their overtime pay, the amount of compensation that is lost can quickly accrue.

Required Off-the-Clock Work

An additional way that employers underpay their employees, and also avoid the payment of overtime, is by requiring off-the-clock work either prior to or after a shift. Employers that require employees to arrive prior to their clocking-in time to perform preparatory work, or to stay after clocking out for wrap-up work, are engaged in wage theft. Employees whose wages have been stolen by their employers have a right to file through the federal, and often their local, government to recover their lost income. This is because most employees are protected from wage theft by the Department of Labor.

Misclassifying Your Employment Status

Another way that employers engage in underpayment and under-compensation of their employees is by misclassifying their employment status so that they are not protected by wage theft and other employment laws. There is a significant difference between an independent contractor and an employee. An independent contractor works independently and generally for a fixed rate based on the project or job, while an employee works under the supervision of another, generally for an hourly rate or salary. Independent contractors are liable for their own injuries and for carrying their own insurance. Employees, on the other hand, can turn to their employer for injuries sustained and are generally owed benefits in addition to their salary or hourly wage.

When an employee is improperly classified as an independent contractor they can experience a significantly lower level of compensation and benefits, as well as lesser protections. If you believe that your work has been misclassified, discussing the unique facts and circumstances of your situation with an employment rights attorney at Zimmerman Reed will determine what compensation you may be able to recover.

Connect with an Employment Attorney on Your Case

The government does not take the exploitation of employees or underpayment of employees lightly. Employees can often find they often have both federal and state law on their side when they have not been properly compensated. In addition to compensation, employees may also be able to recover additional damages and costs.

To explore options on your employment law case, reach out to an employment rights attorney from Zimmerman Reed. Visit our website to schedule a consultation.