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Wage Theft Lawyers

Wage theft is by far the most financially harmful form of larceny that occurs in the United States, accounting for about $15 billion in losses to workers nationwide every single year. In Ohio alone, approximately 217,000 workers lose out on around $600 million in compensation each year just because of minimum wage violations. Further, other forms of wage theft add additional millions of dollars in damages onto that jaw-dropping figure, as well.

A wage theft lawyer can discuss your situation and review possible legal options with you during a confidential consultation. Call Tittle & Perlmuter today to schedule yours.

Working “Off the Clock”

Even if a worker has not clocked into work yet or has already clocked out, his or her employer must track any additional hours worked, including travel time in some cases, and pay the employee accordingly. Mandatory “off the clock” work is unlawful if it is not properly compensated, and it is an archetypal example of wage theft.

Misclassifying an Employee or Failing to Pay Overtime

Employers may violate their employees’ rights by misclassifying the employees as independent contractors. Independent contractors do not enjoy the same rights as employees, and employers may save money by referring to a person as an independent contractor rather than as an employee. However, the law details when a worker is an independent contractor versus an employee, and such designations are not always the employer’s decision.

Employers may also misclassify an employee as someone who is not eligible to recover overtime pay. The law dictates that employers must compensate employees at a rate of time and a half for any overtime hours. Certain workers do not qualify for overtime pay.

If an employer misclassifies an employee, the result can be that the employee loses out on the income to which he or she is entitled.

Failing to Pay Minimum Wage

As a general rule, employers must pay employees at least the minimum wage for all hours worked. As of January 1, 2020, Ohio’s minimum wage rate is $8.70 per hour for most workers. However, small businesses with less than $319,000 in gross receipts per year can pay as little as $7.25 per hour. A failure to provide the minimum wage is a common form of wage theft.

Although most workers must receive at least this amount of hourly pay, tipped workers, those who earn a commission and salaried employees may make less.

Failure to Pay

Not all efforts at wage theft lead to a reduced paycheck. In fact, some workers never get paid at all. This form of wage theft can occur due to accounting errors, mismanagement, or even as retribution for filing a worker’s compensation claim. Employers often find creative ways to steal wages, including refusing to reimburse workers for business expenses they have accrued personally.

Illegal Calculations of Wages in Ohio

Employers have the right to deduct wages in certain circumstances. If an employee causes certain losses or requires a uniform or other equipment, it can come out of the employee’s wages. However, employers cannot use wage deductions as a way to punish an employee for violating a workplace policy.

Employers also must round work in increments of fifteen minutes. Some employers will illegally round down when they should be rounding up, and in some cases, employers may also miscalculate time by deducting pay during work breaks.

If the employer provides breaks under twenty minutes long, the worker should recover wages for that time. Sometimes, wage theft will involve employers requiring their workers to continue to perform their job even after they are no longer on the clock. Employees in these circumstances should speak to a wage theft attorney about their legal options for recovering compensation from their employer.

What Could Legal Action Accomplish?

Through a successful lawsuit, an employer who engaged in wage theft can be held financially responsible for the backpay he or she owes the employee who filed suit. In particularly egregious cases, a wage theft lawyer in Ohio may be able to help multiple workers who all experienced wage theft from the same employer start a class action lawsuit against that company or individual.

In certain situations, additional damages may be available as well. For instance, an employer found to have committed a minimum wage violation may end up owing treble damages to affected workers, which means those workers could recover up to three times the value of the backpay their employer owes them.