Imagine working in for many years in a job you love for a boss that you respect. While things were great in the beginning, you started noticing that things were not quite what they seemed. After looking closely at the situation, you realize that your employer has not been paying you the wages he promised in your employment contact. When taken as just a few paychecks, the difference in negligible, but after several years of this, the amount is significant.
Unfortunately, wage violations are not totally uncommon. However, there are remedies in place to help you get the back pay your employer owes you. An experienced south Florida employment attorney can help you through the entire process so that you can get the money you earned. Read further to find out more about the process of recovering your back pay.
Filing a complaint
When filing a complaint with the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), you will have to provide you name, address and phone number. The WHD will keep this information confidential unless it becomes necessary to pursue an allegation against your employer.
You will also have to provide the name of the company that committed the wage violation, the names of its owners and managers, and its location. Also, be prepared to describe your job duties as well as how and when the company paid you. You may also need to provide copies of pay stubs, records of the hours you worked, anything else the WHD thinks might be useful in following up on the claim.
Filing a complaint with the WHD is a protected act. This means that your employer cannot retaliate or discriminate against you in any way for filing the complaint.
The WHD takes several steps when it conducts an investigation into wage violations. First, it will send an agent to meet with the owners, managers, lawyers, or other representatives of the business. It will then look over records and decide if there are any laws or exemptions in place that might apply to the business. Then, the WHD will examine company documents and records, such as payroll reports, that are pertinent to the investigative process.
Once the agents have finished reviewing legal documents and company records, it will conduct interviews with selected employees. The WHD does these interviews in order to verify payroll records and to learn more about workers' duties. In addition, the agents will ensure that the company has employed younger staff legally. Once the investigation is complete, the WHD will inform the employer if there are any violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Recovering back pay
Once the WHD has established that your employer owes you back pay, there are certain ways the FLSA defines as appropriate methods for recovering back pay. For example, the Act allows the WHD to oversee the payment process. Also, the Secretary of Labor can sue your employer for the back pay as well as an equal amount in damages.
As an employee, you have the right to file your own lawsuit against your employer. You can sue for back pay, an equal amount of cash damages and your lawyer's fees and court costs. However, you cannot sue if you have already received your back pay through the WHD's supervised payment process or if the Secretary of Labor has already filed against your employer.
Get the help you need
If you think your employer has unlawfully withheld your pay, it is important to understand your rights. Let a Fort Lauderdale attorney experienced with wage violations provide insight into your case.