WHAT IS WAGE AND HOUR LAW?
In many parts of the world, people continue to work long and exhausting hours for extremely low wages. Even late into the last century, this was the case in the United States as well. Fortunately, there are now federal and state laws in place in this country that protect employees and help to ensure that they receive fair compensation and reasonable job hours. Each state has its own separate group of what is called wage and hour laws that regulate the minimum amount that you can earn per hour of work. Depending on the state, there might also be rules about weekend and overtime pay as well as the maximum amount of hours you can work per day. Some places even stipulate when and how frequently you must receive your paycheck. If you believe you are not being compensated fairly according to the laws of your state or the federal government, you would consult an employment attorney who is expert in wage and hour law.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO HIRE THE RIGHT ATTORNEY FOR WAGE AND HOUR DISPUTES
The concept of fair wages and hours seems clear-cut: You should get paid no less than the amount to which you are entitled. However, there are many gray areas in this legal sector. Just a few of the questions that people often ask include:
• What counts as work time?
• What is considered to be overtime and what is not?
• Who is and is not eligible to receive overtime pay?
• Can I file a case against a past employer?
• Will I be punished or fired for filing a wage and hour claim?
Unless you seek the advice of a knowledgeable employment lawyer, you might not get the complete answers to these and other questions that you may have.
HOW CAN AN ATTORNEY IN WAGE AND HOUR LAW HELP ME AND PROTECT MY RIGHTS?
The bottom line is that you should be paid for the work you do. Unfortunately, many employers who are motivated to pinch pennies try to cheat workers out of the overtime and hourly wages they deserve. At other times, management might misclassify you as an independent contractor to avoid the need to pay you overtime. Your boss might even unrealistically expect you to work from home without being compensated as “part of the job.” All of these represent violations of wage and hour laws.
A lawyer can also fight for your rights if you don’t receive what you are entitled to in a timely fashion. This includes commissions, bonuses, overtime wages and deferred income. Keep in mind that meal and rest breaks are also covered by state laws. If you believe you are not getting the food and rest times that are legally required, an employment attorney can bring their knowledge, experience and resources to bear to see that you do.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A CASE OR CLAIM?
If you believe you are not getting appropriately paid in overtime benefits, your first step is to ensure that your job classification qualifies for this type of pay. Not everyone who does more than 40 hours a week automatically gets overtime. In fact, you might not if you are a seasonal or temporary employer or if you work as an independent contractor.
In most industries, you are required to receive the federal minimum wage or that which has been approved in your state, whichever is higher. Farm workers and restaurant employees who receive tips have tended to be exempted from these laws although the situation is gradually changing. With this in mind, you should consult an attorney if you believe you are wrongfully being paid less than your state or federal minimum wage.
The laws that govern hours and wages can be complex, and the idea of filing a suit is overwhelming to many people who are not experts in the profession. When you enlist the help of an employment law team such as the Lee Legal Group, you will suddenly have trained staff and lawyers on your side who will evaluate and investigate your claim, help you to gather evidence, send documents to your employer and file your case in court. Having legal representation provides you with a level of power and credibility that no one has as an individual, and we won’t stop until you get the fair wages and justice you deserve. Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation to take the first step.