Wage theft often happens in situations where you might least expect it, with employers you thought were honest, in ways that seem difficult to prove. Wage theft can happen to you unawares – because wage law is often confusing, or it can happen in plain sight. Unfortunately, wage theft is a problem across the United States.
Wage theft is prevalent in part because it’s easy for employers. Employers know that many of their employees don’t know the ins and outs of wage law, or don’t take time to fully calculate their wages due, making it easy and convenient to leave off some hard-earned wages on their employees’ paychecks. Employers also know that they have an advantage over employees because jobs can be hard to find and employees might fear being fired or demoted if they speak out against wage theft. To make all these matters worse, wage theft penalties for employers remain relatively mild. Dishonest employers take the risk of committing wage theft because the repercussions for getting caught won’t affect them very much in the long run. But for employees, the story is much different. If your wages are being stolen from you, it can impact your life and your wellbeing and your family in significant ways. If you suspect wage theft, it’s time to contact an experienced attorney right away!
Recognizing Wage Theft
The first step to getting the wages owed to you is knowing how to recognize that wage theft is happening. According to The National Consumers League, the most common ways that wage theft happens is:
- Minimum wage violations
- Employee misclassification
- Failure to pay overtime
- Working off the clock
- Illegal deductions
- Not being paid at all
Make sure you understand the law in these areas so that you can understand if and how wage theft is happening to you. If you’re unsure if your employer is committing wage theft, you can contact an attorney or research Louisiana labor law.
Reporting Wage Theft
The second step to claiming the wages owed to you is to report wage theft! If you know or suspect that wage theft is happening to you, take the following steps immediately.
- Get Details. You have the right to request a detailed account of how your pay is being calculated, as well as a breakdown of the money you’re being paid if you receive reimbursements or commissions. If your employer refuses, document the date of the refusal. If the refusal came in writing, save the document, according to Inc..
2. Document Everything! If you suspect an issue, begin meticulously documenting everything you should earn, in addition to the exact amounts you are actually paid. Document all conversations you have with your supervisor and other parties about the missing wages.
3. Talk to Human Resources. If your business has an HR person, request a confidential meeting with that person. Show your written documentation of the amount you earned compared to the amount you received. Ask about your missing wages and state that you are prepared to pursue legal action if the missing wages aren’t paid to you.
- Start Looking for Other Jobs. If your employer doesn’t comply with a peaceful way to settle your missing wages, you’ll need to take further action to get the funds owed to you. And if this happens, you’ll probably not want to continue working for a dishonest employer. Starting the job hunt early can help reduce stress and time without work later on.
- Find an Advocate. Entire organizations exist to help victims of wage theft. If you think you have a wage claim case in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, you can start with resources such as The Employment Law Handbook or the Louisiana Workforce Commission to find more information and backing for your case.
6. Consult an Attorney.
Your employer is required by law to pay you your wages due. And your rights to your wages are protected under labor laws! If your employer doesn’t comply with your wage theft inquiry or complaint, you have every right to consult an attorney about your issue. An attorney can help you determine what it would cost to file a legal claim against your employer for wage theft. When you consult with an attorney, be prepared to share your calculations for how much money you think is missing from your wages. From there, you and your attorney can chart the best course of action for getting justice and claiming your missing wages.
Are you being cheated out of your hard-earned wages in Baton Rouge, Louisiana? We’re here to change that. Contact the experienced wage and labor attorneys at Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf by calling 225-343-2205 or sending us a message online.
3960 Government St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806