The idea that all employees deserve fair pay for work began with the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. This group of laws created the minimum standards for relationships between workers and employers.
Perhaps the most revolutionary piece of this legislation was the creation of the federal minimum wage, which requires employers to pay employees a minimum hourly rate set by the federal government. While state legislatures may set higher minimum wage rates, they cannot enforce laws providing for a minimum wage below the federal standard.
Sadly, many employers do not understand or choose to ignore these laws, resulting in employees receiving unfair pay. With the help of a Chardon minimum wage violation lawyer, employees may enforce their right to fair compensation through a civil action against their employer. The dedicated wage and hour attorneys at Tittle & Perlmuter can help workers investigate their employers’ actions and recover back pay for wrongfully withheld wages.
As a local attorney could explain, the minimum wage in Chardon is determined by Ohio’s Constitution and corresponding state laws. Together, Article II § 34a of the Ohio Constitution and Ohio Revised Code § 4111.02 set the state minimum wage and require that most hourly workers receive a rate of pay no less than that specified by Section 34a. Article II § 34a initially set the state minimum wage at $6.85 per hour, to be adjusted for inflation every year. As of 2020, the minimum wage is $8.55 and will increase to $8.80 per hour in 2021.
Unfortunately, not every worker qualifies for this pay rate. Ohio provides several exceptions for certain businesses and employees. For example, the Constitution states that small businesses with a gross income of less than $319,000 per year are exempt from this rule and only must follow the federal minimum wage law of $7.25 per hour.
Some workers may not be eligible for minimum wage because of the nature of their profession. Employees who earn tips or commissions, and agricultural or seasonal workers, are exempt from these laws. Determining an employee’s status as exempt or non-exempt can sometimes be complicated. If you believe you’ve been wrongly classified, a local minimum wage violation attorney can help to determine whether you are covered by state and federal laws.
Workers who believe they have received less than their fair share of wages have two options. The first is to file a complaint with the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Wage and Hour Administration. The Department will then investigate the employer’s wage violations and may even file a lawsuit on behalf of a worker.
The second option is to pursue a private lawsuit. Wage theft due to a failure to pay minimum wage is an actionable offense that gives people the right to demand compensation in civil court.
Though employees may have their complaints investigated by the Department of Commerce at no cost to themselves, going this route has certain downsides. Investigations go back only two years, are often lengthy, and may end in rejection. Additionally, recovery is limited to the minimum wage for the hours that are found to be unpaid. By contrast, private actions carry a three-year statute of limitations, and a successful case could result in the payment of back wages, along with liquidated damages and reimbursement for attorney’s fees and court costs.
A skilled minimum wage violation lawyer can help Chardon workers choose the best legal strategy for their circumstances.
All employees deserve to receive payment for the work they perform. For most people, this means earning at least the state’s minimum wage. Sadly, it is not unusual for employers to illegally withhold pay. They may argue that a worker is exempt from this protection or that an employer is not large enough to fall under state jurisdiction.
The Chardon minimum wage violation lawyers at Tittle & Perlmuter are here to help workers understand their rights, investigate their claims, and fight for wages they have earned. Reach out to our experienced legal team today to discuss your potential case.