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What is Wage Theft and What Can You Do About It?

The Fair Labor Standards Act and other laws require employers to pay at least the minimum wage for every hour worked. But sometimes employers try to skirt the law and pay workers less than they are owed. This is known as wage theft and it is estimated to cost workers as much as $50 billion a year nationally. Wage theft can happen to any employee, with the most at-risk workers being contractors, temps, undocumented workers, low-wage workers and those working at small businesses.

Wage theft can take many forms, including these:

  • Paying less than the minimum wage
  • Failing to pay overtime to hourly workers who put in more than 40 hours in a week
  • Requiring employees to perform work while off the clock
  • Having workers take their unpaid meal break but then requiring them to work through the break
  • Not paying final paychecks after an employee quits or is terminated
  • Misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor to avoid paying overtime or paying into unemployment insurance
  • Stealing tips or pooling tips and using them to supplement the wages of non-tip-reliant employees

If you believe your employer is not paying you the full wages you are owed, you’ll want to seek out a qualified Georgia employment law attorney. A lawyer experienced in wage and hour law can determine whether your employer has violated state or federal law and can advise you of your legal options, which may include:

  • Negotiating with the employer out of court to remedy the situation
  • Filing a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor
  • Filing a wage theft lawsuit against the employer
  • Seeking other remedies the attorney believes may be viable

If you end up filing a lawsuit and are successful, you may be entitled to recover past compensation, damages and costs associated with the litigation. If the employer is found to have willfully and knowingly stolen your wages, they could face criminal prosecution and a $10,000 fine.

The Reddy Law Firm in Suwanee, Georgia represents workers in Gwinnett County and neighboring areas in wage and hour disputes. You can reach out to our office by calling 678-629-3246 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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  • Alpharetta Office
    11175 Cicero Drive
    Suite 100
    Alpharetta, Georgia 30022
    Phone: 678-629-3246
    Fax: 678-629-3247