If you work for an employer who has withheld wages, deliberately paid you below the minimum wage, or denied other rights to which you are entitled, you are not alone. Unfortunately, wage theft is common, particularly in low-wage industries where employees live paycheck to paycheck. However, this is illegal, and there are steps you can take to advocate for yourself and recover the wages that were withheld.
A number of offenses are considered wage theft, from employers not paying employees what they are owed to taking money away from them. The following are examples of actions that are regarded as wage theft:
- Failing to pay an employee for the hours they worked. If your paycheck does not reflect the hours you worked, or you were told to work through lunch, come in early, or stay late, but you were not compensated for that time, this is an example of wage theft.
- Failing to pay an employee the state’s minimum wage. If the hourly rate your employer pays you is less than minimum wage, you may be subjected to wage theft.
- Failing to pay an employee overtime. Employees who work over 40 hours in a workweek are entitled to overtime pay. If your employer does not pay you for the overtime hours or lowers your standard pay rate to reduce the money, they may owe you overtime wages.
- Illegal deductions are taken. Certain deductions require written authorization from the employee, and they must benefit the worker to be legal. If an employer takes deductions without the employee’s permission, this is an example of wage theft.
What Steps Should I Take if My Wages Were Stolen or Withheld?
According to the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (PAWPCL), all employers in Pennsylvania must inform employees about compensation and benefits when hired. In addition, they must pay employees regularly and may not change the schedule without proper notice. If you did not receive your paycheck on the designated day, or you believe that wages were withheld, PAWPCL can help you recover the pay that is owed to you, including unpaid wages, bonuses, severance pay, unused paid time off, and employee benefits.
You can also file a wage theft complaint with the local, state, or federal government. If you decide to take legal action, it is imperative that you obtain as much documentation as possible to prove your case. For example, ensure that you keep detailed records of the dates and hours you worked and copies of all emails, texts, written agreements, and any other communication you have had with your employer. Keep all pay stubs and verify your employer’s name, phone number, and address. An experienced employment lawyer will assist you with this process and address any questions or concerns.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Assist Clients With Wage Theft Complaints
If your employer withheld wages or refuses to pay you what you are owed, contact our Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, and Montgomery County.