When you get paid by the hour, your employer has obligations under federal and state laws to pay you for all of the hours you work. Additionally, companies need to pay most hourly employees at least time-and-a-half for each hour they work past a total of 40 in a seven-day period or “workweek.” Similar wage and contract laws also guarantee fair pay, though usually not overtime, to employees who earn salaries.
Those laws, primarily the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, further require employers to keep careful records of all the time that each employee works. When an employer complies with the law, no worker should ever end up working unpaid hours.
Now, mistakes do happen. If your employer shorts you one time, the best solution is usually just to talk with your manager or Human Resources about resolving the problem and receiving your full pay.
As unpaid wage attorneys in Columbus, Ohio, though, we know that too many employers intentionally withhold fair wages and refuse to pay earned overtime. When that happens, the most effective response is to work with an employment lawyer to hold the employer accountable and ensure it complies with the law.
Keep Track of Your Own Hours
Proving that your employer owes you back pay or unpaid overtime requires presenting evidence that you worked all the hours you claim you did. One of the best forms of evidence is a notebook or computer spreadsheet in which you log all your time spent working. Additionally, an Ohio unpaid overtime attorney can requests your payroll records pursuant to the Ohio Constitution. You may be able to use those to prove all hours worked.
You can also legally share your concerns with co-workers and discuss whether your employer is shorting their pay in addition to yours. When a pattern of underpaying wages extends to several — or even all — employees, you may have grounds for filing a class action or collective action lawsuit to seeking back pay and sometimes liquidated damages for all victims.
Consulting with an experienced employee rights lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, will help you understand what information to document related to when you are working and how you can speak with co-workers without creating further problems. Be aware, too, that employers who cheat their workers out of fair wages and earned overtime might choose to retaliate in other ways against employees who raise concerns. This type of retaliation is unlawful. Seeking advice from an attorney will give a ready legal champion and ally to protect you against wrongful termination or another type of illegal treatment.
You Do Not Need to Keep Working for a Company That Does Not Pay You
While you do need to collect evidence that you are getting regularly shorted on pay, you do not need to continue suffering exploitation as a worker in order to make your case. You can seek unpaid wages and overtime for up to two years after receiving your last short paycheck. Importantly, you have no legal duty to tell your employer that you are leaving because of unfair or illegal pay practices.
The unpaid wage lawyers in the Columbus, Ohio, office of The Friedmann Firm welcome opportunities to fight for back pay and unpaid overtime. We offer free, confidential consultations, so call us with your questions and concerns at (614) 610-9755. We also take appointment online through this contact form.