“Wage theft” is one of those phrases a lot of people have heard, but aren't sure if it applies to them. What does it mean? How can you be a victim of wage theft if you're getting a paycheck every week?
Wage theft can come in many forms, but overall, it is when employers unlawfully keep wages from the employees that deserve them. Among the business practices that can constitute wage theft are:
Minimum Wage Violations. The federal minimum wage provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and are currently $7.25 an hour. The state of Indiana's minimum wage is also $7.25 per hour, so there shouldn't be any confusion with which one applies. If you are not making at least $7.25 an hour, you may be the victim of wage theft.
Denial of Overtime Pay. Unless you're classified as exempt by the FLSA, you should be entitled to overtime pay after you've worked over 40 hours in a week.
Misclassification As an Independent Contractor. Independent contractors do not receive many of the benefits that employees of a company receive, including overtime pay and various protections. Many businesses illegally classify employees as contractors in order to skimp on wages and benefits.
Not Receiving Pay. Some employers will blatantly just not pay someone who has done work. This could mean they did not pay for all the hours you worked, didn't pay your last paycheck when you left, or didn't pay extra when you worked through lunch or through a scheduled break.
The bottom line is that if you did work and you were not paid for it properly, you are a victim of wage theft. You may love your job, but that doesn't mean you're willing to work for free—and you shouldn't work for free. If you think you may be the victim of unpaid wages in Indiana, contact the The Law Office of Robert J. Hunt, LLC for a free consultation.