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Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm

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Wage Disputes

Fighting For The Wages You Deserve

As an employee, you expect and deserve an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. If your employer has not lived up to its end of the deal, you can face dire financial straits. The attorneys at Spitz, The Employee's Law Firm, are here to help you fight for the wages you deserve. We handle a broad range of wage and hour disputes in Ohio.

Overtime Disputes For Hourly And Salaried Workers

Under the overtime provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Ohio Fair Labor Standards Act, most hourly (nonexempt) employees are entitled to a pay rate of one and a half times their rate of pay for every hour they work over 40 hours. If you are an hourly worker and you have been denied overtime pay, our lawyers are here to help you fight for what you deserve.

Most people think that if they are salaried (exempt), they are not entitled to overtime. In many situations, however, this is not the case. The question is: Are salaried according to your employer’s definition or the definition set forth by the FLSA? You may be called a manager in title, but if a significant portion of your workday is spent doing menial tasks, you may, in fact, be misclassified and eligible to receive overtime pay.

Wage Dispute FAQs

Below are some of the most common questions we get around wage disputes:

Can the company that I work for pay two employees differently for doing the same job?

That depends. First, employers can pay different rates as long as the decision to do so is not based on protected class. There are several laws that make pay discrimination unlawful, though. Employers cannot pay women less than men for doing the same or equal jobs under the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) as well as Title VII. Employers are precluded from paying reduced wages for the same job based on race under Title VII and § 1981 of the Civil Rights Act. Title VII also prevents lower wages for the same work based on national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy status. Likewise, employers cannot provide lesser pay based on age and disability (or perceived disability) under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) respectively. Employers can defeat a claim for pay discrimination by providing sufficient evidence that the pay discrepancy is based on any of the following: (1) an established seniority system; (2) an established merit-based system; (3) an established system that allocates pay to employees based on the quantity or quality of each employee’s production; or (4) any other legitimate business reason other than a protected class. (Read more: What Is Pay Discrimination? What Can I Do About Pay Discrimination At My Job?

How do wage disputes work?

That will depend on the particular nature of your wage dispute. Claims for wage discrimination can be brought under the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”), Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and § 1981 of the Civil Rights Act. Claims brought under Title VII, the ADEA, and the ADA must first go through a very complex process with the EEOC where a false step or failure to check a particular box could result in a lost claim. Meanwhile § 1981 and EPA claims do not have to go through the EEOC and can go right to court.

If the wage dispute is over unpaid or underpaid overtime or your employer’s failure to pay you minimum wage, the claims will proceed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Depending on whether your employer is just not paying you correctly or has a bad wage policy that results in several employees waving their wages stolen, will depend on how the complaint is formulated to start your lawsuit.

However, the simplest and best results sometimes happen when a qualified wage and hour attorney points out the problem before filing a lawsuit and can negotiate the proper payment of missing or disputed wages.

Can my job withhold my last paycheck?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires employers to pay employees timely, with timeliness decided by state laws. This includes an employees last check. Employers cannot deem a final paycheck forfeited if an employee refuses to give two-weeks’ notice or allegedly not returned a uniform. Likewise, it is unlawful to withhold the final paycheck of a fired employee even if the employer thinks that the reason for termination will cost the company money – like when an employee no-call, no-shows for a job that is then lost; or for damage that an employee causes to machinery or a vehicle. Unlawful deductions or withhold of a worker’s last paycheck are types of wage theft that you should consult with an FLSA attorney about.

Importantly, employers who are found to have either repeatedly or willfully violated the FLSA pay requirements, including by withholding a final paycheck, may be required to pay double the amount owed and pay reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of the lawsuit to the worker.

What are examples of legitimate wage disputes?

The simplest wage dispute issues start with a mistake calculation or recording of your hours or having improper tax calculations. These may be resolved by checking with HR, your boss, or the payroll company. Beyond that, there are a lot of complex pay issues that can arise, including pay discrimination, not paying you time and half for all hours worked in a given workweek, calculating overtime wrong by not including all your pay beyond your hourly wages, misclassifying employees as exempt just because they are paid a salary, mislabeling employees as independent contractors when they are really employees, making you work off the clock, or firing you because you reported wage issues or just because you discussed your wages with coworkers. It is critical to consult a qualified wage theft lawyer to help with these issues as soon as they arise. (See also: Can “Independent Contractors” Actually Be Employees Under The FLSA?Does Standby Time Count For Overtime Pay Calculations?Is My Manager Personally Liable For Overtime Violations?

What are my rights when it comes to being paid for travel time related to work?

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers should pay employees for travel time during the work day, travel to and from out-of-town assignments and travel deviating from a home-to-work pathway (such as being asked to pick up supplies at a warehouse on the way to work). Employers are not expected to pay for travel between an employee’s home and their regular place of work.

Can an employer make deductions from my wages for uniforms or equipment?

An employer can make deductions from an employee’s wages for required uniforms or equipment if these deductions do not result in the employee’s pay dipping below minimum wage. Questions may arise such as who should pay for elaborate cleaning of uniforms or replacement of broken or stolen tools. For clarification of your rights regarding uniforms or equipment, consult with one of our employment law attorneys at Spitz, The Employee's Law Firm.

We Can Handle Any Wage Dispute

Whether you are fighting for unpaid overtime, break time, prep time, vacation time or any other compensation you are entitled to, we are here to provide you with the strong advocacy you need and deserve. To learn more and to schedule a legal consultation with an experienced employment law attorney in Ohio, contact our law offices online or by telephone.

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