While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
Paying your bills and staying above water can be difficult at times. It can be even more difficult when your employer fails to pay you your full wages. If you have noticed that your paycheck is not what it should be and your employer has not fixed the issue, you will likely need to take action. The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, was put in place to protect wage earners across the country. It sets the minimum wage, overtime guidelines, and record keeping guidelines for employers. If you have been underpaid by your employer, here's what you should do.
Keep Records On Hand
If you have been underpaid by your employer, it's in your best interest to save proof of this happening. This means holding on to your pay stubs, bank statements, and any form of communication between you and your bosses regarding your compensation. It's important to know exactly when you have been underpaid and how much your employer owes. This information can come in handy later on. Unpaid overtime is a common issue. Keeping track of your hours is essential for proving that this is happening.
Laws Vary From State to State
While the FLSA outlines the federal standards for payment, states also have laws regarding your wages. The federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour; however, there are some exceptions. Some states require that employers pay a higher minimum wage, while others do not. If you believe you have been underpaid, you may want to take a closer look at your state's wage laws. Unpaid overtime is also an issue for many Americans. However, in some instances, your employer may not be required to pay out overtime.
Consult With An Attorney
For those dealing with underpayment, legal help may be required. An FLSA attorney can help you determine if your employer is in violation of the FLSA and help you get the compensation that you are owed. An attorney can help you get those lost wages in the form of back pay and other settlements. The cost of hiring an attorney can vary. Some charge by the hour while others charge a contingency fee. Contingency fees are typically between 33 and 40 percent for FLSA attorneys. Contingency fees are only paid if your lawyer wins your case.
If you are not seeing as much in your paycheck as you should, your employer could be underpaying you. If they do not rectify this issue, there are a few things that you should do. First, make sure that you keep a record of these instances where you were underpaid. Laws can vary from state to state and doing a little research can help you determine whether or not there is an issue. If you believe that you may need to take legal action, consulting with an FLSA attorney is a must.