Minimum wage and overtime pay guarantees have been a part of American law for over eighty years. Despite these guarantees, many workers in every industry in the country are not paid minimum wages, not paid required overtime hours, or sometimes not even paid at all. These practices – called wage theft – are estimated to affect at least one in four workers. Most workers who are victims of wage theft never recover their lost wages, either because they do not know their rights, lack access to helpful counsel, or are fearful of retaliation. Our firm seeks to change that.
Handley Farah & Anderson is at the forefront of litigation to halt wage theft. Our experienced lawyers have litigated more than one hundred cases against corporations that have refused to pay their employees the wages to which they were entitled. Our lawyers have represented tens of thousands of workers across a range of industries—from construction to restaurant to janitorial services—who were systematically denied the minimum wage, overtime pay or lawful benefits, or who were retaliated against for requesting such compensation. In these cases, our attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for those workers.
Forms of Wage Theft
The most common forms of wage theft include:
- Minimum Wage Violations: Federal law guarantees a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour to all non-exempt employees. Additionally, states, counties and cities often establish their own minimum wage guarantees that are higher than the floor established by federal law. With limited exceptions, it is unlawful for employers to pay employees less than the applicable minimum wage.
- Overtime Pay: With limited exceptions, workers are entitled to be paid one and a half times their hourly rate for time worked in excess of 40 hours per week. It is unlawful for employers to pay employees less than that amount for overtime work.
- Employee Misclassification: One common form of wage theft occurs when employers misclassify employees as independent contractors, hoping to remove the minimum wage and overtime requirements to which employees are entitled. This not only cheats employees of these payment protections, but also deprives them of access to unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation in the event of injury.
- Non-Payment for Time Worked: With limited exceptions, it is illegal for employers to ask employees to work “off-the-clock.” Such employees must be compensated for all time after entering the workplace until they conclude their work and leave. This includes payment for time spent working during break or meal times.
- Illegal Deductions from Pay: Employers cannot make unauthorized deductions from an employee’s pay check, and can never make deductions that would result in the employee receiving less than minimum wage per hour worked.