For most businesses, the biggest expense in the budget is the cost of labor. As such, some employers may try to circumvent federal and state laws surrounding minimum wage and overtime pay as a way to reduce expenses. In some cases, employers may not understand how the laws work and fail to pay employees correctly. Although unfortunate, many employees do not realize that their rights are being violated and that they should be earning more. Below are three of the most common wage and hour violations employers commit, and what employees can do about it.
Failing to Pay Proper Minimum Wage
Most employees know that employers are required to pay a minimum wage. The federal and state minimum wage laws regularly increase the minimum wage amount to adjust the increased cost of living. Still, some employers may not pay the prevailing minimum wage rate for a variety of reasons.
Also, employers are allowed to deduct certain costs from a worker’s paycheck, such as the cost of a uniform. If those deductions, however, result in the employee being paid less than minimum wage, that action is likely a violation of minimum wage laws.
Failing to Pay Proper Overtime
Federal and Ohio law requires employers to pay overtime wages to employees, unless they are considered exempt under federal law. The overtime rate is one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of 40-hours within a work week. Some employees are considered “exempt” from overtime laws. Examples include executives, trained professionals such as doctors and school teachers, and managers. However, the job title does not necessarily determine whether or not an employee is exempt. Their job duties are what matters. Sometimes employers misclassify an employee as exempt and claim that an employee is not eligible for overtime pay when they may be.
Asking Employees to Work Without Pay
All employees deserve to be correctly paid for the time they spend working for the employer. There are different rules for exempt and non-exempt employees. Some employers will ask non-exempt employees to clock in fifteen minutes early for their shift but they do not pay them for that time. Or, an employer may ask an employee to perform a few last-minute tasks after they have already clocked out, and the employee will not get paid for that time. Although it may seem like just a few minutes here and there, the time can add up. The extra time worked may also result in overtime hours and pay, if the employee is working more than 40 hours per week when the extra time is included. These examples may be violations of the law if the employer requires the additional time and the employees are completing work tasks that are an integral and necessary part of their job responsibilities. Employees may be able to take legal action to recover those lost wages and other damages.
Our Ohio Employment Lawyers can Help Recover Your Lost Income
All workers are entitled to receive the proper legal compensation for the work they perform. When they do not, it is possible that their employer is violating federal and state wage and hour laws. A Columbus employment lawyer can help. At Marshall & Forman, LLC, we have experience with helping employees who are victims of wage and hour law violations. If you feel as though your employer has committed one of the above violations, or any other, call us today or contact us online to schedule a confidential meeting with one of our attorneys.