A few years ago, the Economic Policy Institute released a report showing just how prevalent wage theft is in Ohio. According to that report, workers receive less than minimum wage approximately 217,000 times every year. Each of these violations cost individual workers approximately $2,800. While it is difficult for anyone to lose this amount of money, many workers who suffer from wage theft are only earning minimum wage, or just slightly more. This makes the impact on those workers even greater. It is important that all employees understand wage theft, and how to stop it when they suspect it is happening to them.
What is Wage Theft?
Contrary to popular belief, wage theft includes much more than simply failing to pay employees minimum wage for every hour they work. Other types of wage theft include:
- Failing to pay the one-and-a-half times an employee’s rate of pay for overtime work,
- Failing to classify employees properly so they receive their fair wages under the law,
- Treating all employees that earn a salary as exempt from the overtime rules, although that is not always lawful,
- Requiring employees to perform work off the clock,
- Rounding down the hours worked when this practice is unlawful
It is crucial that all employees understand the law regarding their wages, and that they know what action to take when their employer has violated their rights.
Ohio Workers Have Protections for Wage Theft
Some employees do not understand when they are not paid fairly for their work. Others know their employer has violated their rights, but do not come forward because they are fearful of employer retaliation. Both the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act protect Ohio workers from wage theft, and they cannot face retaliation for reporting the theft. Workers that feel their employer has not paid them fairly have a couple of options when they want to recover those lost wages.
The Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Labor and Worker Safety, Wage, and Hour Bureau handles all complaints regarding wage theft. Unfortunately, this agency can only handle a fraction of the complaints that are filed, and many cases go unreported. However, wage theft is still theft and therefore against the law. Due to this, workers who are not paid their fair wages can file a lawsuit against their employer to claim damages, such as their lost wages. When filing a lawsuit, employees must follow very specific procedural rules. An Ohio employment lawyer can help employees with their case.
Our Ohio Employment Lawyers can Review Your Case
Wage theft is unacceptable and when it happens, employees that have not received their fair wages can hold their employers accountable. At Marshall & Forman, LLC, our Columbus employment lawyers can advise on whether you should file a complaint or a formal lawsuit against your employer. Whatever option is most appropriate, we will help you every step of the way, ensure your case is filed properly, and help you secure the wages you have lost, as well as any other damages. If you believe you have been a victim of wage theft, call us today or contact us online so we can review your case.