Federal and state laws compel employers to compensate employees fairly, and employment attorneys with The Friedmann Firm take pride in helping individual workers and groups of employees enforce their rights to collect unpaid wages. The cases we take fall into four broad categories, each of which we describe briefly here.
In all instances, our Cincinnati unpaid wages attorneys assist our clients with securing and analyzing payroll and timekeeping records, eliciting testimony from managers, supervisors and other employees, and calculating damages to ensure we request what each person is owed. Our Cincinnati wage lawyers also do what we can to shield employees from retaliation. When an employee is fired or otherwise penalized and mistreated for demanding fair pay, our unpaid wages lawyers also explore options for holding the employer accountable for violating the law.
Succeeding with an unpaid wages claim can result in the payment of back wages with interest, the award of liquidated damages (double the damages that are owed), and potentially, the issuance of an injunction against the employer and/or an order to change its payroll policies. An injunction is a court order for an employer to change its policies and practices so other employees do not suffer similar financial harm as a result of failure to pay minimum wage, failure to pay overtime or other wage and hour violations.
Employers must pay all the people who do substantially the same job the same amounts in base wages or salaries. In practice, this means that an hourly wage or salary differentials cannot exist for women and men or for white people and people of color who are similarly situated at a company or agency.
“Similarly situated” is generally interpreted to mean that two or more employees work in the same location and have the same general job duties. Some allowance is made under laws such as the Equal Pay Act to pay individuals with greater experience or skill more than coworkers who have the same job descriptions, but an employer must prove that any pay differential is justified and not a reflection of discrimination.
The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, mandates the payment of overtime for employees who get paid by the hour and are exempt from receiving overtime pay. Overtime starts at one and one-half of the employee’s “regular hourly rate” once an eligible employee has put in 40 hours during a workweek. A number of exemptions from overtime eligibility exist, but working as a server, bartender or in another position that earns tips is not one of the exemptions. Speaking with an experienced Cincinnati, Ohio unpaid wages lawyer will provide answers regarding whether your employer should be paying you overtime.
The FLSA also mandates the payment of a minimum wage for nearly every job. Each state sets in own minimum wage, and the rate in Ohio during 2020 was $8.70/hour. Again, workers who take tips must receive the minimum wage, though an employer is allowed to factor tip amounts into the calculation of the minimum wage.
Our Cincinnati unpaid wage attorneys have seen employers use several schemes to cheat workers out of earning the minimum wage and overtime. Some of the more common illegal tactics include stealing tips, telling tipped employees they cannot qualify for overtime, misclassifying hourly employees as managers or independent contractors, requiring off-the-clock work, and falsifying timesheets.
Even when an employee quits or gets fired, their employer must pay them for their final shifts within 30 days. Additionally, many salaried workers have employment agreements that guarantee payment for unused leave. If you have one, your employer must usually pay you for that unused leave. Severance pay may be something you can pursue as well, depending on the circumstances surrounding your termination.
We offer free consultations on all types of wage and hour and other types of employment law cases. No matter where you live in Ohio, you can connect with one of our Cincinnati unpaid wages attorneys online or by phone at (614) 610-9755. Everything you share with us will be kept strictly confidential.