While it’s a tragic truth that wage theft is a nationwide problem, workers in Baton Rouge, LA may be at heightened risk of wage theft. According to WageTheft.org, the south is one of the regions where wage theft crime is most concentrated.
Wage theft is sometimes difficult to spot, as it sometimes appears in subtle ways. Sometimes employers commit wage theft by deducting payments here and there that employees should have received for travel, remote work, and more. Without close observation, you might not even notice that you are owed missing wages. Wage theft normally involves unpaid wages or unpaid overtime, but wage theft can also include other violations of the labor laws, including failure to provide meal and rest breaks and failure to provide pay stubs and checks with all the required information.
A common form of wage theft happens when employees are expected to do “off the clock” work without being paid. For example, if you are an hourly employee and are frequently expected to respond to emails, phone calls, and text messages during your“off” hours, you could be the victim of wage theft. As any employee knows, responding to communications from an employer is work and the time spent doing these tasks should come with regular payment rates. In certain industries, “off the clock work” may look like times when employees are required to put on and care for protective gear and uniforms without being paid for the time spent doing so.
When filing a wage claim case, you’ll be asked to provide details that prove your side of the story. Below are the most essential forms of evidence for proving wage theft:
- Evidence for Meal and Rest Period Violations – Record the exact number of meal breaks and rest periods you were not provided for or not paid for by your employer.
- Evidence for Unpaid Wages – Document the number of hours you have worked for which you have not been paid. In some cases, you can present the pay stubs from before your employer stopped paying you or stopped paying you the correct amount. You can show the gap in pay stubs or the decrease in payment amount. You’ll need to document the corresponding hours you worked for which you were not paid for or not paid adequately. In some cases, a pay stub might show a deduction for something that you were entitled to be paid for – such as time off.
- Evidence for Unpaid Commissions – If you are a commission-based employee, you can calculate the exact amount of commissions you are owed, and how you earned those commissions. It helps to present the agreement (such as a contract, email, or other documentation) that states the commission rate you and your employer agreed to.
- Evidence for Unpaid Vacations – If you are entitled in your job agreement to paid vacations, you can document the qualifying period, amount of vacation taken, details of your vacation taken, and the balance due from your employer.
- Evidence of Work Agreement – This is the contract signed with your employer, which states when you should get paid, how much you should get paid, and by which method you should be paid.
- Dishonored Pay Checks, If Applicable – In many cases, an employer commits wage theft or wage fraud by handing out fraudulent checks which are then not honored by banks or other institutions. You can save the documentation that shows that your check was dishonored.
- Excuses for Failing to Pay – Make sure to always save and record any documents, letters, emails, texts, or other forms of communication that your employer used to describe why you were not paid when you should have been paid. Oftentimes, the employer is simply making excuses for serious wage theft. Your best bet is to get original copies of these documents. If you cannot get your hands on the original copies (as employers are not usually willing to give you access in the case of wage theft or wage fraud), the next best thing – such as photocopies or emails – will usually be enough to support your wage claim case.
Are you missing wages that you worked hard to earn? It’s time to put a stop to the injustice you’re experiencing. The employment law attorneys at Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf are ready to take on your case and win!
Get started with a free case evaluation. Call our Baton Rouge office at 225-343-2205 or message us.
3960 Government St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806