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Common Ways That Employers Commit Wage Theft

When you are working for wages, it means that you are compensated for the exact amount of time you work. However, many employers get away with not paying what they owe to their employees. This is called wage theft and it is illegal.

Employers often commit wage theft to take advantage of people who they feel may not be knowledgeable or aware of the law or be too afraid to speak up. If you are wondering if your employer is stealing from you, here are six common ways employers commit wage theft.

They Classify Non-Exempt Employees as Exempt

Exempt employees are those to whom employers do not have to pay overtime. Only certain types of employees, such as managers and supervisors, can be classified as exempt. Some employers will give an employee the title of manager and make them exempt simply to avoid paying overtime even if said employee has no managerial duties.

They Don't Cover Shortfalls for Tip Wages

While it is legal in Florida to pay tipped workers less than the minimum wage, if tips fall short of the state minimum, then the employer must make up the difference. Many employers don't do that and some employers will flat out take some of the tips or deduct certain charges and fees from the total. If you're a tip employee, it's important to keep track of all your hours to make sure you are paid fairly.

They Deduct for Breaks

In Florida, employers are not required to give workers 18 years or older a lunch or even a short break, but many employers do. Usually, the lunch break is not compensated, while shorter breaks are. Some employers deduct a lunch break whether you take it or not. If you work through your lunch break, whether by choice or by request, then you are required to be paid for that time.

They Classify Employees as Independent Contractors

Many employers try to get out of being responsible for taxes, minimum wage, and overtime by claiming that their employees are independent contractors. Employees and independent contractors differ in the amount of autonomy they have over their working conditions. If you're told where, when, and how to work, then chances are that you're not an independent contractor.

They Fail to Pay for Overtime

Some employers will require their employee to work off the clock in seemingly innocuous ways. They may require you to set up or clean your workstation before and after your workday and on your own time. Another way of they avoid overtime pay is having you do reworks or revisions off the clock or answer phone calls and emails while you are not at work.

They Fail to Pay Minimum Wage

All wage earners are required to be paid the Florida minimum wage, but some employers find ways to pay workers less then they're owed. They can flat out offer you less than minimum wage and claim that it's under the table and tax-free, which is against the law. Other employers promise to pay minimum wage, but take out fees and illegal deductions or don't pay the whole amount when payday comes.

Employers must follow federal and state laws when it comes to paying the wages you are owed. If you suspect wage theft is happening to you, be sure to keep documentation. Also, if possible, find out if other employees are in the same boat.

If you feel that your current or former employer is committing wage theft, then you may want to consult an attorney for advice. The law office of Gary A. Isaacs, PA, can help you with employment law issues. Call us today to discuss your situation.