Wage theft is a theft, and like other kinds of theft, it’s against the law.
So the short answer is yes, you may be able to sue your employer for unpaid wages. But the long answer? Far too often unscrupulous employers fail to pay wages or overtime pay. Unfortunately, many workers are desperate to keep their job, and they lack evidence or an employment lawyer who could help them file a claim. We frequently hear stories of vulnerable workers being taken advantage of by their bosses. And far too often, this is where the story ends.
Unfortunately, the United States has a long, shameful history of worker exploitation, but there are labor laws designed to protect workers like you.
So to answer this important question in more detail, let’s go back to the beginning.
In many cases, the company, organization, or employer you work for must pay you for all of the hours you work. In addition, many employers must provide overtime rates for overtime hours you work, most often at “time and a half”, or 150% of your regular wage. Not every employee is eligible for overtime pay; however, many workers are entitled to receive overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week.
If your employer has denied you wages, you may be able to file a complaint or civil lawsuit. If successful, you may be entitled to recover your unpaid wages, interest on those wages, attorney fees, and sometimes even penalties. An employment lawyer can help you determine which laws are applicable to your employment and what type of compensation you may be able to recover.
How do I know if my employer is withholding wages? Can I sue my boss for manipulating my schedule to deny me overtime pay?
In addition to outright wage theft, some employers use accounting and scheduling tricks to improperly deny an employee his or her wages, especially overtime pay. For instance, if your boss spreads out the hours you worked in one week over a two week period to avoid paying for overtime work, he or she has likely violated labor laws. The following are several kinds of behavior that might warrant the need for an employment attorney in Cincinnati, OH:
- Wage theft, meaning failure to pay wages you are owed
- Scheduling and accounting tricks that let an employer avoid paying overtime
- Paying less than the minimum wage or failing to pay overtime rates when applicable
- Falsely classifying employees as independent contractors
- Unauthorized deductions from your paycheck
- Falsely claiming employees are exempt from overtime pay
- Withholding wages, including final paychecks
What is the minimum wage in Ohio?
Currently, minimum wage in Ohio is $8.10 per hour for large employers. Small employers, defined as those with less than $297,000 in gross annual revenue, can pay employees $7.25 an hour.
Are salaried employees eligible for overtime pay? Can a salaried employee sue for overtime wages?
Many salaried professional workers making more than $455 per week or $23,660 a year are exempt from overtime laws. However, this will be changing very soon. President Barack Obama recently proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act raising the monetary threshold for this “white collar exemption” for the first time since 2004. The new standards are expected to take effect December 1, 2016 and would raise the exemption’s monetary threshold to about $970 per week or $50,440 annually —welcome news for millions of American workers.
There are often many factors to consider in determining whether you are entitled to overtime pay.
How can reimbursements affect overtime pay or unpaid wages?
See our blog on reimbursements for more information.
How do I sue my employer for unpaid wages? How can I recover unpaid wages? How can I make my boss pay overtime?
If you’ve been unfairly cheated out of a paycheck, there are a number of actions you can take. First, you can speak to your boss or ask for paycheck or time-card records to ensure he or she hasn’t made a simple mistake. Of course, most people who contact employment lawyers have already been down this road and found it’s a dead end.
To file a complaint against your boss, company, or employer, you can contact the Ohio Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. These public agencies handle worker complaints regarding certain wage and employment issues.
However, if you’ve found this page, you probably want to know if you can sue your boss. Employees can, and often do, file civil lawsuits against their employers. Employment attorneys in Cincinnati, like those at Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A., can help workers who have been unjustly wronged by their employers.
Don’t see your question here? Ask the employment attorneys at Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. Call us today at 513-665-9500 for help.