The current economic climate can make it hard to obtain or keep a job. Sadly, there are many cases where businesses abuse workers by making them perform without getting paid. Employees who are afraid of losing employment might agree to work an extra 30 minutes or so, but this is a form of wage theft.
Wage theft occurs when an employer fails to provide an employee with the salary and benefits they have already earned. Most instances of wage theft are obvious, but there are dishonest employers who may take advantage of honest workers and legal loopholes.
Here are some signs:
1. Your supervisor requests you to stay late
After your shift, your manager might ask you to stick around for a while to finish a few quick tasks. Those few minutes may not be enough to receive overtime pay, but if you asked to stay often, this time can add up. For instance, if your employer mandates you stay 15 minutes extra each day after your shift for ancillary stuff, you have already put in more than an hour of unpaid work each week.
2. You work during lunch breaks
Wage theft can happen if your employer leaves you no choice but to work during your mandated lunch break. It could be in the form of meeting invites during lunch or by asking you to finish tasks before you eat or take your break.
3. You work overtime but do not get paid
Any time you work over 40 hours a week should be receiving overtime pay. New York law requires your employer to pay you overtime wages that are 1.5 times your regular rate. When you earn an hourly wage, all those hours can amount to a significant value.
4. Your employer misclassifies your work status
If your employer requires you to perform the work of a regular employee but classifies you as an independent contractor, you may be a victim of wage theft. Some businesses misclassify employees to avoid paying overtime, certain benefits, employment taxes, and worker’s compensation. However, this deprives the worker of their rights as an employee.
Lack of reimbursement for required work-related expenses and the inability to receive back pay after resigning are two additional signs of wage theft. Consider talking to your boss if you believe that your company is not paying you fairly. If your company has no intention of paying, you may need to hire a lawyer.