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The Growing Issue of Wage Theft and What to Do if You’re a Victim

As a follow-up to our previous article, “Wage Theft and The Philadelphia Restaurant Industry,” we would like to shed further light on the growing national issue of wage theft, and what you can do if you believe you are a victim.

If you have no knowledge of what wage theft is, what your rights are under the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and if you live in Pennsylvania—what your rights are under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act—we strongly suggest you read what we have below.

How to Better Identify if Your Employer is Violating the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act or the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act

The first step to identifying whether or not your employer is breaking the law will be one in which involves educating yourself on labor laws. According to the FLSA, nonexempt employees—or those who are paid by the hour and not salary—must receive a federal minimum wage (as of July 24, 2009) of $7.25 per hour and overtime pay that is no less than one and one-half times their regular rate if they work 40+ hours a week.

The next step will be identifying how your employer might be breaking the law. In some instances, employers have been shown to (whether they know it or not):

  • Commit minimum wage violations – by paying less than the federal minimum wage.
  • Neglect to pay the appropriate overtime pay by having some confusing rationale as to why they can’t.
  • Make illegal pay deductions or not reimburse employees for equipment, gas, or other items needed to do the job.
  • Commit a tip violation by keeping too much or all of an employee’s tips.
  • Fail to pay workers for the hours that they work, or short their hours.

While you would think that employers would do everything they can to follow the laws set forth by the FLSA, it has been shown that wage theft is prevalent and that both workers and the United States economy are paying the price. In fact, according to a report released by the Sheller Center for Social Justice at Temple University Beasley School of Law that looked at how wage theft harms Pennsylvania, they found that stolen wages deprive the state of millions of dollars of valuable tax revenue.

What You Should Do if Your Employer is Breaking the Law

It’s vital that you speak with an attorney if you suspect your employer is committing wage theft. Something else you can do is reach out to your state’s Department of Labor or Department of Employment, and/or the U.S. Department of Labor. Whatever path you choose, it’s important that you also bring any physical evidence or documentation that can back up your claim. Lastly, you should never be afraid to reach out for help, as your employer cannot discriminate or terminate you if it is found you are filing a complaint.

Wage Theft is a Serious Issue and it Should Not Be Ignored

Here at Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC, we are much more than personal injury attorneys that serve Montgomery County, PA, and bankruptcy lawyers that provide our services in Montgomery County, PA. We can offer expert legal counsel and advice to those who suspect they are being taken advantage of by their employer anywhere in the Philadelphia, PA area. To learn more about wage theft and your rights under the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, please do not hesitate to pick up your phone and call us.