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Proven Results No Matter the Case

As lawyers for the workers, we make sure that employers pay you for the long hours you put in and give you the wages you are owed.


What to Do If You Were Not Paid for Work as an Hourly Worker

Hourly workers are those who are paid a certain rate for every hour worked rather than a day rate or annual salary. By law, hourly employees must be compensated for all hours worked; however, employers may wrongfully withhold wages or otherwise fail to properly compensate hourly workers in several ways.

If you are paid hourly, and you believe your employer has failed to provide you with fair wages for the hours you have worked, reach out to Josephson Dunlap. You could be entitled to take legal action against your employer, and our attorneys can help. We assist clients in filing hourly workers unpaid wage claims throughout the U.S. With more than two decades of legal experience and hundreds of millions of dollars recovered in unpaid wages and overtime, our firm has the resources and skills to effectively advocate for you.

Schedule a complimentary consultation with a member of our legal team. Call (888) 742-7242 or submit an online contact form today to get started.

Could You Be Owed Unpaid Overtime Wages?
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Hourly workers have several important rights when it comes to wages, overtime, and fair pay. The first step in knowing whether you were not paid fairly is understanding these rights.

Some of your most basic wage-related rights as an hourly worker include:

  • The Right to Be Paid for All Hours Worked: Your employer must pay you for all hours worked. This means that for every moment you are “on the clock,” you must be fairly compensated. Your employer cannot require you to work off-the-clock, nor can they take unlawful wage deductions from your paycheck. In most cases, “hours worked” includes any time you are required by your employer to be on duty, on the employer’s premises, at your place of work, or otherwise engaged in work-related duties that benefit your employer.
  • The Right to Minimum Wage: Hourly workers must be paid at least the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage for 2023 is $7.25 per hour, the same rate it has been since 2009. However, each state has its own minimum wage laws, and certain cities have enacted minimum wages above their state’s set minimum wage. Your employer cannot pay you below the minimum wage for your state or local area. In certain states, tipped workers may receive an hourly wage below the minimum wage with the expectation that the difference will be made up in tips. If it is not, the employer must make up the difference.
  • The Right to Overtime Pay (If Non-Exempt): Non-exempt hourly workers (which includes most hourly workers) are entitled to receive overtime pay for hours worked beyond a typical workweek or workday, depending on the state. In many states, overtime pay does not apply until an employee works more than 40 hours in a single workweek. In some states, such as California, non-exempt hourly workers are entitled to overtime when they work more than 8 hours in a single workday. In most cases, overtime is paid at a rate of one-and-a-half times the employee’s normal rate of pay.

These are just some of your rights as an hourly worker; the exact rights you have depend on where you live and work, as well as your status as an employee. However, if you believe your rights have been violated in any way by your employer, contact our team at Josephson Dunlap as soon as possible.

Common Wage & Hour Disputes

Hourly workers can face various wage-and-hour disputes, some of which are common across different industries and job roles. Here are a few:

  • Unpaid Overtime: One of the most prevalent issues is unpaid overtime. Hourly workers are often entitled to overtime pay (usually 1.5 times their regular rate) for hours worked beyond a certain threshold in a workweek (typically over 40 hours). Disputes arise when employers fail to compensate employees for these extra hours.
  • Off-the-Clock Work: Employers might ask hourly workers to perform tasks before or after their scheduled shifts without compensating them for this time. Whether it's setting up, cleaning, or administrative duties, if it's work-related and mandatory, it should be paid.
  • Misclassification: Employers might misclassify employees as independent contractors or exempt employees to avoid paying certain benefits or overtime. Hourly workers should be classified correctly based on their job duties and responsibilities.
  • Meal and Rest Breaks: Laws often mandate specific rest and meal break periods for hourly workers. Disputes can arise if employees are not given these breaks or are asked to work through them without compensation. Minimum Wage Violations: Hourly workers must be paid at least the minimum wage set by federal or state laws. Disputes occur when employers pay below this threshold or adjust wages in a way that effectively violates minimum wage regulations.
  • Record Keeping: Employers are generally required to keep accurate records of hours worked by employees. Disputes can occur if these records are not properly maintained or if employees' hours are underreported.
  • Tip-related Disputes: In industries like hospitality, disputes might revolve around tip pooling, distribution, or employers taking a share of tips, which can conflict with wage regulations.
  • Travel Time and Commuting: For some jobs, travel time between job sites or for work-related tasks might be compensable. Disputes can arise when employers fail to compensate for this time or if there's confusion about what qualifies as work-related travel.

Resolving these disputes involves understanding labor laws, reviewing employment contracts, and potentially taking legal action or filing complaints with labor authorities. It's crucial for workers to keep detailed records of their hours worked and any relevant communication with their employer to support their claims in case of disputes.

How to File a Wage Complaint

Filing a wage complaint is an important step for hourly workers facing payment issues. The process might vary slightly based on location, but here are general steps that can guide workers through this process:

  1. Gather Documentation: Collect all relevant documents supporting your claim. This might include pay stubs, timesheets, employment contracts, emails, or any other evidence of hours worked and payments received.
  2. Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with federal and state labor laws regarding minimum wage, overtime, breaks, and other regulations. This knowledge will help you understand if your employer violated any laws.
  3. Address the Employer: Before filing a formal complaint, try resolving the issue internally. Speak with your employer or HR department to discuss the problem and request the owed wages. Document these interactions for future reference.
  4. Contact the Labor Department: If the internal resolution fails, reach out to the labor department or wage and hour division in your state. They usually have online forms or paper forms available for filing complaints. Provide detailed information about the issue, including dates, hours worked, and the nature of the dispute.
  5. Cooperate with Investigations: After filing a complaint, the labor department may investigate your case. They might ask for additional documentation or information. Cooperate fully and provide all necessary details to support your claim.
  6. Seek Legal Assistance: If the labor department's resolution doesn’t suffice or if you face retaliation from your employer, consider seeking legal advice. Employment lawyers specializing in wage and hour disputes can guide you through legal options and represent you if needed.
  7. Follow-up: Stay informed about the progress of your complaint. Check-in with the labor department regularly for updates on the investigation.
  8. Consider Alternatives: Depending on the severity of the dispute and the outcome of the labor department's investigation, you might consider alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or arbitration.

Contact Josephson Dunlap for Help with Your Hourly Worker Unpaid Wage Claim

One of the most important things you can do if you find yourself the victim of wrongful or unjust employer conduct is to contact a law firm with experience handling cases like yours. At Josephson Dunlap, we have helped hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the United States fight to protect their rights. Our mission is simple: to help you recover the unpaid wages you are owed, as well as seek compensation for related damages, such as pain and suffering.

Contact the “lawyers for the workers®” for help with your hourly worker unpaid wages claim; call (888) 742-7242 today to get started. Se habla español.

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Report Labor Violations to the Appropriate Entity

In most cases, the first step after finding out your employer has not paid you for all hours worked is to file a labor violation report to the appropriate entity. Depending on where you live and work, this could be the state labor board or another regulatory agency.

You can usually report labor violations online or by phone; however, if you need assistance reporting your employer’s unlawful failure to pay hourly wages, you can reach out to Josephson Dunlap. We assist clients nationwide with all aspects of unpaid wage claims, including reporting labor violations and taking legal action against employers. Our attorneys are available to answer your questions and provide personalized legal counsel during a free, no-obligation consultation.


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