How Our Houston Unpaid Wage Lawyer Will Help You Get What You’re Owed
63% of Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck. So when your employer doesn’t pay what you’re owed, they’re pushing your whole livelihood into crisis mode.
Unpaid wages = unpaid rent + unpaid bills = uncertain future.
If your employer refuses to pay what you’ve earned, you have the right to file a claim for unpaid wages. Unpaid wages are essentially wage theft.
Companies get away with billions of dollars in wage theft every year because employees are either too intimidated or simply unaware of their legal rights to take action.
The company you work for probably has a team of lawyers to stall or squash claims like yours. All you need is one experienced unpaid wages lawyer who sees through their tricks and acts swiftly to turn things around.
Wyly & Cook’s experienced unpaid wages lawyers have helped hundreds of people reclaim what they had rightfully earned.
Call us now for a FREE case review and find out what your case is worth.
Unpaid Wages Situations
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects employees from getting exploited by their employers by allowing them to recover unpaid wages for any violations.
You’ll be surprised to know many victims didn’t even know their employer was stealing their wages in more than one way.
Let’s take a look at some of the violations you can file an unpaid wages claim for:
- Employer doesn’t pay you minimum wage.
Working overtime hours without proper overtime pay unless in a bona fide exempt position. The FLSA states that employees must be paid 1.5 times their normal hourly rates for any time spent working beyond the 40-hour weekly limit unless exempt.
- No payment for the preparation needed to do a job.
- No payment for working during break time. Although employers aren’t mandated to offer lunch breaks, employers must compensate employees for the amount of break time they spend working.
- Taking calls and emails at home without compensation. According to FLSA, employees must be paid overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a week. “Work” mean any activity the employer requires or permits the employee to do in the employer’s interest.
Improper tip pools, like paying managers out of a tip pool.
Specific Overtime Violations
Here are some of the most common types of overtime work violations you can file a claim for:
- Misclassifying employees to be exempt from overtime even though their responsibilities are the same as other employees who are paid overtime.
Misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime when their job duties don’t qualify for exemption.
- Not keeping a record of all extra hours worked by employees.
- Incorrectly calculating the employees’ regular rate of pay. For example, paying a unreasonably large “per diem” to shield some pay from overtime consideration.
- Employer claims the overtime work was not authorized.
Employer claims the worker is an “independent contractor” when the employee doesn’t have their own business separate and apart from the employer’s work.
It’s important to understand how you may be a victim of misclassification. Employers offer jobs that meets certain qualifications to qualify for overtime pay.
Only exempt workers can be denied overtime, non-exempt workers must be paid overtime.
Your employer may have misclassified you as an exempt worker to squeeze their way out of overtime pay. They may have labeled you as an independent contractor, contract laborer, temporary worker, or a temp-to-perm.
Salaried employees may be made exempt from overtime pay, but only if they make at least $684 a week, and have exempt job duties like using independent discretion and judgment in significant matters.
The Wyly & Cook Law Firm
It’s easy to point out how you’ve been exploited by going through this list of violations. However, it’s much more challenging to legally prove them and get the compensation you deserve.
You need an experienced Houston unpaid wage lawyer to recover what you’re owed by taking charge of every step involved in this complex legal process.
Our team of focused unpaid wage lawyers is dedicated to make Texas a better place to work by winning hundreds of unpaid wage claims for our clients.
You just focus on taking your career to new heights. We’ll take care of everything from gathering evidence, filing your case, negotiating with your employer and their attorneys, or taking your case to trial if necessary.
Call us now for a FREE case review to find out what’s the best legal action you can take to recover your unpaid wages.
Reasons for Unpaid Wages
It’s important to document why your employer failed to pay what you’re owed. It makes it easier to hold them liable by clearly shedding light on their illegal practices.
Here are some of the most common reasons for unpaid wages:
- Attempting to save money – Businesses can be cut-throat and underpaying obligations like proper employee pay can put more profit in the owners pockets.
- Not Understanding the Law – An employer may not understand what the Fair Labor Standards Act requires. For example, the employer may think that paying a salary is enough to make a person exempt. The employer could then violate the FLSA by not paying overtime to non-exempt workers who were paid a salary.
- Disagreements over punching in and out of work – You could be losing out hours of unpaid wages if your employer doesn’t have a consistent system to track employee activity. Not having a time clock at all, or paying workers on a salary basis when they are non exempt can result in not having adequate records. Fortunately, the FLSA doesn’t require exact records for the employee to seek his unpaid wages if the employer failed to keep proper records.
- Disciplinary action – Employers may avoid paying out wages or severance pay as a disciplinary action if an employee was suspended or dismissed for misconduct. However, the reduction must be forward looking. An employer can’t reduce your pay for work that has already been performed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an example of working through lunch breaks without pay?
An employee who is working 40 hours a week on the clock and has an unpaid 30 minute lunch break. However, their lunch is routinely interrupted by work, so that they really only have 10 minutes a day of time away from work to eat. The 20 minutes a day that is worked but unpaid must be compensated as overtime hours worked.
Can an employee be compensated for taking calls and emails at home?
Yes. According to FLSA.
How are tips handled by employers?
Tips may not be shared with management or others who are not customarily tipped workers. Making a worker work at the tipped rate when no able to earn tips, like when opening or closing, is not allowed.
What is time and a half pay?
Time and a half pay is another word for overtime pay. Under FLSA rules, employees working for any time over the standard 40-hour workweek must receive overtime pay that’s 1.5 times their normal hourly working rate.
For example, if your employer pays you $15 per hour, your overtime hourly pay rate will be 1.5 x $15 = $22.5 per hour.
There are some special situations for certain kinds of employment or compensation that work a little differently. Talk to a Wyly & Cook Unpaid Wages Lawyer if you have a question about how you are being paid.