Unfortunately, wage theft can be found in virtually every corner of the business world today. One of the most common forms it takes in Cleveland is failure to pay an appropriate minimum wage. These types of violations can also look like a failure to track hours correctly, failure to classify workers as employees rather than independent contractors, and failure to ensure employees receive at least minimum wage per hour between wages and tips.
No matter what specific violation your employee committed, a Cleveland minimum wage violation lawyer could go over your options for filing suit. With support from a seasoned wage and hour attorney, you could pursue compensation for backpay, attorney’s fees, and additional damages, depending on the circumstances.
As of 2020, the minimum hourly wage under Ohio state law for non-tipped employees in Cleveland is $8.70 an hour, and the minimum hourly wage for tipped employees is $4.35 per hour. Due to a referendum passed by state voters in 2006, these minimum standards rise every year based on the national Consumer Price Index, so the applicable minimum wages in 2021 will likely be a bit higher.
However, these state-level minimum wages only apply to Cleveland employers that bring in more than $319,000 per year in gross revenue. Any company with a lower annual revenue may only abide by federal minimum wage laws, which set minimum hourly wages at $7.25 for non-tipped employees and $2.13 for tipped employees.
It is important to note that if an employee’s tips combined with their hourly wage do not equal at least $8.70 per hour—or $7.25 per hour for smaller businesses, as noted above—their employee must make up the difference. Furthermore, it is illegal for employers to deduct equipment expenses from a worker’s pay if it drops their hourly wage below the minimum standard. An attorney in the area could help a local employee file suit for appropriate backpay and other damages if they suspect their employer of minimum wage violations.
Aside from the revenue-based exemption, there are a few other circumstances in which Cleveland-area employees are not bound by state or even federal minimum wage laws. However, these circumstances are specifically defined, so workers should be wary of unscrupulous employers citing these exemptions as they may not be applicable to their situation. If a minimum wage violation stems from intentional fraud on the part of an employer, they could even be held liable for punitive damages.
While it is possible to file suit over a single violation, it is extremely rare for this kind of minimum wage theft to only impact one worker. Often, a few dollars are stolen from dozens or hundreds of workers to add up to thousands of dollars in lost income. A hardworking attorney may be able to help many impacted workers in Cleveland pursue restitution for minimum wage violation through class action litigation. In addition to backpay, a dedicated legal representative could factor court costs and interest on withheld wages into a settlement demand as well.
Companies in America steal billions of dollars from their employees every year through various acts of wage theft. Failure to pay the minimum wage is one of the most common violations. If you were wrongfully told you were an independent contractor, not paid enough between wages and tips, or had work-related supplies unfairly deducted from your pay, filing suit may be in your best interest.
A Cleveland minimum wage violation lawyer could inform you of the applicable laws and, if necessary, help you assert your rights in negotiation or court proceedings. To schedule a consultation about your potential case, call today.