What are some illegal practices that involve unfair wages?
Wage discrimination is also known as unfair wages. It refers to the inability to pay employees fair compensation for their work, or a wage that is lower than the minimum wage. Most employment law cases are based on unfair wage claims. These lawsuits usually focus on two main areas of employment law: discrimination laws and wage and hour laws.
Here are some examples of unethical pay practices at work:
A worker is entitled to a lower wage because they are of a different nationality, gender, race or disability.
Failure to pay overtime workers;
Retaining retirement pensions, benefits for disability, and health insurance benefits.
Employers are misclassified as "exempt" when in fact they are non-exempt workers.
Employers being required to report hours worked less than actually worked during a given workweek.
Underpaying or withholding a paycheck.
Employers can engage in unfair wage practices in many ways, as you can see. If you feel that your employer has not paid you fair wages for your work, it is in your best interests to immediately contact an employment lawyer. An attorney can assess your case and determine if you can sue your employer for damages.
What are some other issues involved in lawsuits for unfair wages?
Other than the illegal practices discussed in the previous section, there are other problems that could be associated with unfair wages at work.
Falsified wage records
Child labor -
Employers must pay at least the minimum wage.
What should I do if I have legal issues involving unfair wages in my workplace?
Unfair wages at work can be dealt with by a variety of legal options. An employee must first file a complaint to a federal or state agency that handles unfair wage matters (e.g. the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission "EEOC")) in order to report unpaid wages.
After receiving the complaint, the agency will review it and open an investigation. If they don't find evidence, the agency will close the case and send a "Right to Sue” letter to the employee. If the agency finds that the employer has violated the law or committed the acts described in the complaint, the agency will close the matter and issue a "Right to Sue" letter to the employee.
An employee who receives a "Right to Sue” letter from their employer can file a civil private lawsuit against them in court. If an employee wins a lawsuit against their employer, they might be eligible to receive a monetary damages award to cover any losses.
Important to remember is that an employee must first exhaust all administrative remedies (e.g., submitting a complaint to the EEOC), before they can file a civil private lawsuit against their employer for damages.
An employee who feels they are being paid unfairly for their work should, in any case, begin collecting and organizing evidence to support their claim. Examples of such evidence include:
Tax returns for employees (e.g. W2s)
Timesheets and work schedules
Documents that are related to work (e.g., payslips, receipts, and HR emails), job offer letters, and employment contracts...
Employees should consider writing a written account detailing the violation to keep track of all events. This record should contain the contact information and testimony of any witnesses or victims of the unfair wage violation.
A class-action lawsuit against an employer may be an option if several employees have been affected by unpaid wages. While a class-action lawsuit does not guarantee success in every case, it can provide stronger evidence that there was a violation. Because a group of workers, rather than a single person, claim to have been affected.
A violation of the Equal Pay Act is an example of when it might make sense to file a group action lawsuit rather than a private individual suit. The Equal Pay Act, a federal law, requires that both men and women are paid equally for the same job.
If female legal assistants receive less than their male counterparts, they would be likely to be able to file a lawsuit against the law firm. To bring a successful Equal Pay Act case, plaintiffs must prove the following:
They were doing the same work or equivalent as their male counterparts.
They worked together (e.g. the law firm in the example).
They were still being paid less than their colleagues, despite all this.
Do I need to hire a lawyer if I have issues involving unfair wages?
Employment and/or labor law claims can be very complicated. You may need to be familiar with both the federal and state laws governing employment in your particular case. If you have questions about unfair wages or are involved with a dispute regarding unfair pay at work, it might be in your best interests to consult an employment lawyer as soon as possible.
Your lawyer can also assist you in filing a claim with a government agency such as the EEOC. If you've already done this step, your lawyer can assist you in the process of filing a private suite with the court.
Your lawyer can also provide legal representation if you have to appear in court or meet with your employer to discuss a settlement.