It doesn’t matter if your employer meant to withhold your wages or not; when your wages go unpaid, it’s called wage theft. It’s important to understand the many ways employers commit wage theft and what you can do about it. Learn more below about common types of unpaid wage violations. If you are the victim of unpaid wage violations in Ohio, our Columbus Ohio unpaid wages attorneys will help you get the wages you earned when they go unpaid by your employer.
You should be paid promptly at the end of the pay period. If your check is held up, that’s an unpaid wage violation. If you quit or get fired, your final paycheck should be issued at the next pay period. Usually, you can pick up this check-in person or have it mailed to you. If you have accrued paid time off (PTO) that you didn’t use when you separate from employment, that PTO should be paid at the next pay period. You are entitled to overtime at one and a half times your regular rate for every hour over 40 that you work in a week. Unpaid overtime is one of the most frequent sources of unpaid wages. Being forced to work off the clock is another major source of unpaid wage violations. If you are required to attend meetings outside of regular working hours that are directly related to your job, you should be compensated. If your boss requires you to travel between job sites, that time is paid time. If your job requires you to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), the time you spend putting on and taking off PPE is compensable. If you are a tipped employee who is required to turn in any portion of your tips, except as part of a valid tip pool, then you are being robbed of your wages. If you are provided with an unpaid lunch or break period, any time you work through those periods should be compensated. This can include meal or rest periods that your employer requires you to miss, or if you eat lunch at your desk and continue working on your own initiative. It’s up to your employer to enforce unpaid meal and break times. Any time you are “suffered or permitted to work,” you should be paid. If you are required to be on the premises while on call, you should be paid for your waiting time. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allows employers to round hours to the nearest quarter-hour, but they can’t always round down. Minutes one through seven should be rounded down, but minutes eight to 14 should be rounded up. If your company rounds your hours down when they should round up, they are robbing you of the wages you earned.
You can recover back pay in the amount of wages you earned but were not paid. Additionally, you may be entitled to liquidated damages in an amount equal to that back pay. You can, in effect, be paid double the amount of unpaid wages. You can also get your attorney’s fees and costs paid for by your employer.
Under the FLSA, you have two years from the violation to file a lawsuit to recover unpaid wages and other damages. If the violation is occurring repeatedly, you have two years from the date of the last violation, but you can only recover up to two years’ worth of unpaid wages. Contact Coffman Legal as soon as you become aware of the unpaid wage violation to help ensure you get all the wages owed to you. In the case of a willful violation, you have up to three years to file a lawsuit, and you can recover up to three years’ worth of unpaid wages. A violation can be considered willful if your employer knew it was violating the law or acted with reckless disregard of the law.
If you believe your employer is withholding your wages for any reason, call Coffman Legal’s Ohio unpaid wages lawyers at 614-949-1181 for a free consultation. We help employees throughout Ohio collect their unpaid wages and all legal damages allowed by law.