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What to Do if Your Employer is Not Paying You

November 15th, 2022

Low-wage industries in Pennsylvania are rife with employer wage theft. Sadly, millions of dollars are illegally stolen from tens of thousands of workers in industries such as farms, warehouses, factories, and restaurants each year.

Wage theft occurs when employers do not pay workers in full for the amount owed or take money out of workers’ wages, such as:

  • Shorting paychecks: The employer fails to pay workers for the full number of hours worked. Another example is asking employees to work during typically unpaid periods, such as breaks and lunch hours, and then refusing to pay by citing policy.
  • Denying minimum wage: Every state has a minimum wage that employers are required to meet or exceed when paying their employees. Paying employees less than the minimum wage is considered theft, not to mention illegal.
  • Denying overtime: Unless otherwise established, the typical full-time work week is 40 hours. Employers are required to pay overtime for any hours over 40 at a rate of one and a half times the regular hourly rate. Employers who lower the hourly rate during periods of expected overtime are committing wage theft.
  • Illegally deducting: State laws regulate what deductions other than taxes employers can take out of workers’ wages. Additional deductions require the workers’ authorization and must benefit the employee, such as a reduction that is applied to retirement, to be legal.

Under the law, employers are required to pay regularly, on-time, and the exact amount each worker is owed for the hours worked. Employers are required to provide payment for the last weeks of work, even when employees quit or are fired. Deductions cannot be taken for materials or broken equipment, or any other cited “policy” without written permission from employees.

Employers are also permitted to pay workers in cash, but must provide documentation in the form of a paystub detailing the hours worked, pay rate, total amount, and deductions.

Steps to Take if Your Wages Are Being Stolen

If you believe your employer is committing wage theft, you have rights and avenues to report your employer’s offenses with local, state, or federal governments, depending on location of your work and the type of theft.

In order to report wage theft, you should compile:

  • Verified information about your employer, including the business and owner’s name, addresses, and contact information. This is especially important if your employer operates multiple businesses under different names.
  • Documentation of the dates and hours worked, including start and stop times.
  • Copies of any communication with your employer regarding wages, including emails, texts, and written agreements.
  • Several weeks, or all, pay stubs detailing what you have been paid, or other documentation in cases of paid cash wages.

Before filing a complaint, it is highly recommended to consult an employment lawyer to help assess what violations have been made and your best course of action.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Help Clients Demand Payment of Earned Wages

If your employer is stealing your wages by not paying the full amount owed, refusing to pay overtime, or paying less than minimum wage, the experienced Philadelphia employment lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. are available to help you recoup what you are legally owed. Call us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

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