Written by Ravi Sattiraju on March 18, 2017
In business, every dollar saved is a profit. To raise their profits, companies often take measures to lower their operating costs, such as changing their hours of operation or developing a more efficient supply chain. In some cases, employers find ways to pay their employees less than they actually earned as a means to lower their operating costs. If this happened to you, you could have grounds for an unpaid wage claim. Below are a few examples of common measures employers take to pay their employees less than they deserve to receive.
Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors
Employees and independent contractors are two different types of worker. Independent contractors are generally brought in on a per-project basis while employees are paid a salary or hourly wage for regularly-schedules blocks of their time. Employees are entitled to receive overtime pay, workers’ compensation, and at least the minimum wage. Independent contractors are not.
Failing to Compensate Tipped Employees
Tipped employees, such as servers and bartenders, have a different minimum wage than other types of workers. In New Jersey, this wage is $2.13 per hour. When a tipped employee does not earn at least the standard minimum wage ($8.38 per hour in New Jersey) for a given workweek, his or her employer is required to pay him or her the difference between this and the employee’s actual earnings. Failure to do so is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Denial of Benefits
Benefits can include paid sick time, vacation days, and paid meal breaks during an employee’s shift. Employers are not required by law to provide these, but many opt to. If you have been promised, then denied, one or more of these benefits, you could have grounds for a breach of contract claim.
Other benefits, such as overtime pay for individuals who work more than 40 hours in a workweek or workers’ compensation for those injured on the job, are required by law for most employers. Denial of these rights can also be a form of compensation denial.
Working Employees “Off the Clock.”
When an employee performs work before or after his or her scheduled shift, he or she must be compensated adequately. Failure to pay an employee for work performed “off the clock” is a form of wage denial. This can be done by failing to compensate an employee for time spent traveling for work purposes, having him or her take work home to complete, or requiring the employee to stay after his or her shift has ended to continue to perform work-related tasks.
Wage Dispute Attorneys in New Jersey
If you have been denied the wages you rightfully earned, take legal action to get your money. Start this process by contacting the New Jersey wage dispute attorneys at The Sattiraju Law Firm, P.C. to schedule your free legal consultation with our firm. As one of New York and New Jersey’s premier employment law firms, our team of attorneys has a proven record of reaching favorable outcomes for our clients. Do not wait to begin working with us – contact our firm today.