Wage and Hour

What are wage and hour laws?

Wage and hour” laws regulate the wages that people are paid (e.g. minimum wage, overtime), the hours that people can work, and the payroll records that employers are required to maintain. These state and federal laws are designed to protect working people from low wages and long hours. Prior to enactment of wage and hour laws, it was common practice for employers to require employees to work very long hours with little or no extra pay.

What should I do if I have wages that are unpaid?

Any person who performs work for another should be paid for that work in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Sometimes, an employer will fail or refuse to pay wages that have been earned by an employee. If an employee believes that his or her employer has wrongfully withheld regular or overtime pay, bonuses, commissions, stock options, vacation pay, or severance pay in violation of the law, he or she should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced employment law attorney is in the best position to evaluate the employee’s claim to unpaid wages to determine whether there has been an actual or potential violation of state or federal law. Depending on the nature and seriousness of the violation, the attorney will bring the matter to the employer’s attention or to the attention of the appropriate governmental agency so that an investigation can be undertaken.

What do I do if I have overtime wages unpaid?

Hourly employees who work more than forty hours in a workweek are entitled to overtime wages at a rate of one and a half times the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay (i.e. “time and a half”). Under both state and federal law, employees who are not paid overtime wages to which they are entitled have the right to file suit against their employer. The penalties for failing to pay overtime wages can be quite harsh. If the employee prevails, he or she will be entitled to the overtime wages that were wrongfully withheld as well as damages in an amount that is twice or even three times the amount of overtime wages withheld (depending on whether the case is filed under federal or state law), reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, and prejudgment interest (if no damages are awarded). It is important for an employee with unpaid overtime wages to consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible, as unpaid wage cases can be challenging to pursue without legal counsel

Martineau Davis & Associates is committed to aggressive advocacy for our clients while maintaining the highest level of professionalism, integrity, and ethical standards. Contact us at 401-234-0751.

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