If you are working for an employer who did not pay you when they were supposed to or incorrectly calculated your wages, legal action may be a possibility. Unfortunately, too many workers let a situation go because they do not believe they can afford an attorney. But, if you have been a victim of wage theft it is important you fight for your rights.
Before you dismiss a violation as not being worth pursuing legally, discuss your situation with a Columbus employment attorney. There are times when it is possible to secure damages. Do not let illegal activity be forgiven, you have rights and there are wage and hour lawyers who will take your case on without any out of pocket cost for you.
You Have Rights Under Federal Law
According to federal law, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violation can move forward without the victim needing to be concerned about attorney fees. What this means is that if a FLSA claim is filed, and the plaintiff wins, the successful employee will automatically receive his attorney fees, costs, and some expenses incurred relating to the prosecution of their claim. With this in place, many who are victims of FLSA violations and wage theft have the confidence to move forward with their claim, knowing it will not put them in a more precarious financial situation.
This is important because depending on the amount of the claim, the attorney fees could be higher than the financial settlement that will resolve the wage issue. However, the right to recover attorney’s fees ensures that individuals receive proper representation regardless of how much or little their claim may be. Because the legal fees are shifted to the employer rather than the employee, the violation can be addressed without the employee, the victim, shouldering an unfair part of the financial burden.
In addition, employees can often receive additional compensation in excess of their damages, including liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are available on top of the individual’s other overtime or minimum wage damages under the FLSA.
Minimum Wage In Ohio
The shifting of legal fees is an important distinction as many are not able to afford legal fees, particularly individuals who are earning minimum wage.
In Ohio, the minimum wage for non-tipped workers is $8.70 per hour for 2020. A 15 cent increase was put in place in January, 2020. In 2019, minimum wage in Ohio was $8.55 per hour. There was an adjustment for tipped employees, too. Their minimum wage increased from $4.30 per hour to $4.35 per hour.
Keeping this pay in mind, the FLSA has within it a fee structure that shifts the legal fees from the employee to the employer to eliminate individuals not seeking justice due to fiscal constraints. Employees work hard for their minimum wage and overtime compensation. They should not incur costs in excess of their damages to recover the wages they worked hard for in the first place. Of course, you need to discuss your situation with a Columbus wage and hour attorney. It is essential you have a strong case to be protected. The statute is in place solely for plaintiffs who win their cases.
Are you ready to take your unpaid wages or unpaid overtime claim to court? You deserve fair treatment and to be fully and properly compensated for your labor, including all wages and overtime. It is illegal for an employer to not compensate you for all of the hours you have worked, including overtime hours.
Were your wages incorrectly calculated? Contact the wage and hour lawyers at Coffman Legal LLC to discuss your unpaid wages and unpaid overtime. We are strong and committed advocates for all Ohio workers and use our experience and knowledge to help you. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation about your unpaid wages or unpaid overtime.