Written by Ravi Sattiraju on May 8, 2018
Are You Being Paid Fair Wages?
Employees work hard for their bosses, and the least their employers can do is pay them fair wages. Unfortunately, many workers are shortchanged from getting the compensation they deserve. Read on to understand how to analyze your wages and what steps to take if you are not being paid fairly.
Check if You are Being Paid the Minimum Wage
Each state sets its own minimum wage. They cannot go below the federal minimum of $7.25 but can set a minimum above it. As of 2018, the minimum wage for New York is $8.75 an hour and New Jersey is $8.38. Some workers are exempt from the minimum wage amount, but most aren’t.
Check whether you are being paid this amount. Find your pay stubs, which should identify the hourly amount. If the amount isn’t listed, then divide your pay by the number of hours you were paid to arrive at your hourly wage.
If you are paid less than the minimum, you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
Identify if You are Receiving Proper Overtime Pay
Some employers shortchange employees of overtime pay. New York requires that employees be paid at 1.5 their regular rate of pay for all hours over 40 worked in a week. New Jersey’s laws are the same.
One common misconception is that anyone who is salaried is exempt from overtime. That is not entirely accurate. Some salaried employees will qualify for overtime, but it depends on other factors, like their job duties. If you have questions, speak with an employment lawyer today.
If you think an employer is withholding overtime pay, you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor or with an appropriate state agency.
Consider whether You Receive Less Because of Discrimination
Two major federal laws have outlawed discrimination in pay. The Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying employees unequally based on sex. Furthermore, other federal laws prohibit discrimination in areas of employment, including pay, based on certain characteristics:
- Sex, including pregnancy
- National origin
It might be hard to figure out whether your employer is paying you less because of one of the above characteristics. Many employers keep employee salaries secretive, and few employees will divulge this information voluntarily, either.
Nevertheless, you might hear rumors that you are being paid less than your colleagues for an illegally discriminatory reason. If so, you should raise the issue with your employer. If you are unhappy with their response, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Still Don’t Think You are Being Paid Fair?
Your employer might comply with minimum wage and overtime rules, and they might not be discriminating against you. Nevertheless, you think your pay is too low. For example, you might have checked the average salary online for people in your area and seen that you are paid far less than the average.
Unfortunately, no law requires your employer to pay a wage you think is “fair.” However, you can still make a presentation to your employer and explain why you think you are worth more. Mention your education and experience, as well as any particular accomplishments you are proud of. If you are still unhappy with your pay, it might be time to dust off your resume and look for a new job.
Contact a New Jersey Wage Discrimination Lawyer with Questions
A network of federal and state laws exists to protect employees from exploitation and discrimination. If you feel your employer has violated the law, you might be entitled to backpay or other compensation. Speak with an experienced employment lawyer at the Sattiraju Law Firm today. Our firm is one of the premier employment law firms in New York and New Jersey, and we are anxious to help you.