You work hard for a living, so you deserve every dime you are paid — and maybe more.
Sadly, your right to a fair wage can be violated very easily by unscrupulous employers. Knowing how to recognize the signs of “covert wage theft” can help you protect your rights. Here are four ways that wage theft can happen:
Misclassification as an independent contractor
Does your employer call you an independent contractor but treat you like a regular employee? It is very possible that your employer has purposefully misclassified you as an independent contractor. The result of this is that you will be held responsible for paying your own taxes. Furthermore, you will not be entitled to overtime pay, workers’ compensation and other benefits.
Not paying for mandated time off
Does your employer guarantee certain holidays off with pay? Are you allowed to take them? Have you watched your paycheck to make sure that pay is included? Not allowing you to actually take your guaranteed leave or not paying you for the time are both forms of wage theft.
Making employees work off the clock
Every minute spent carrying out work for the benefit of the company should be paid. Employers cannot refuse to pay for the time a worker has to prepare their working station before a shift or complete an errand after their shift is over at the request of the company.
There is no legal basis for your employer stealing tips. One common example of this is when a company detracts credit card processing fees from the employee’s tip pool.
If you suspect that you’re the victim of wage theft, find out more about your rights. When employers are held accountable for their actions, it helps stop that kind of behavior everywhere.