Contact a Northwest Arkansas employment lawyer if you have a claim for unpaid wages. Employers often short employees their legally entitled wages by not paying the proper commission, breaching contracts, misclassifying workers as independent contractors, or running afoul of minimum wage and overtime regulations. Contact Placzek Law Firm, PLLC if you believe your employer is not paying you appropriately.
Unless you are exempt from overtime regulations, an employer must pay you overtime (one and one-half times the regular rate of pay) for hours worked over forty in a workweek. This is based on both state law and a federal law called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Beware that many employers improperly classify employees as “exempt” to avoid having to pay this overtime compensation. Some common misclassifications occur to the following employees: inside salespeople, call center employees, local drivers, leasing agents, leasing consultants, leasing specialists, new home salespeople who sit in a model home all day, real estate appraisers, clerical workers, administrative assistants, assistant managers, manual laborers, blue-collar workers, anyone whose job is physical in nature, computer and IT employees, paralegals, special investigators, and recruitment consultants. Contact a Northwest Arkansas employment lawyer to find out if you are properly classified as an “exempt” employee.
It is also very common for employers to avoid paying proper wages for all hours worked. Employees that must drive long distances but are not paid, are made to wait at a specific location and cannot leave, or are taken off the clock between jobs in a shift, may be entitled to compensation.
Employers also violate the overtime laws when they fail to properly calculate the “regular rate of pay” for bonus and commissioned employees. The term “regular rate of pay” not only includes an employee’s hourly pay rate, but it also includes almost all other non-discretionary compensation paid to an employee by an employer, such as bonuses and commissions. For example, a weekly bonus must be added to an employee’s hourly rate of pay to determine the regular rate of pay. This new “regular rate of pay” is the proper amount to use when calculating the overtime rate.
An employee has the right to bring an overtime claim while still working for the employer and the FLSA prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee because the employee complained about overtime violations.
In Arkansas, tipped employees must be paid at least $2.63 per hour. However, the tips earned must be enough to bring them up to the applicable minimum wage which is $8.50 per hour in Arkansas. If the tips do not bring you up to minimum wage, your employer must make up the difference. This method of paying employees with tips is an exception to the rule and it is a privilege – not a right. An employer who fails to meet all the regulations loses the privilege of taking this “tip credit.” The employer must then go back and pay tipped employees two times the tip credit for each hour worked in the past two or three years.
A common violation deals with restrictions as to what jobs can be paid as tipped employees. Additionally, there are many ways that a “tip pool” could be invalid. An employer might fail to adequately inform workers of how the tip pool works, might include employees in the tip pool (like managers, dishwashers, cooks) who cannot be included in a tip pool, might make improper deductions from a worker’s pay (like glass breakage, shortages), or might include involuntary tips in the pool. Finally, if you worked overtime hours as a tipped employee, your overtime rate is often incorrectly calculated at 1.5 times a regular rate of $2.63 per hour. However, when overtime is worked by a tipped employee, the regular rate of pay to calculate overtime is not actually $2.63 per hour.
An employer cannot deduct below minimum wage for such things as spoilage or breakage, cash or inventory shortages or losses, fines or penalties for lateness, misconduct, or quitting without notice. There are also strict rules on how much an employer can deduct for furnished items such as uniforms, lodging, and board. This is generally only 30 cents per hour.
If you believe that you are owed unpaid wages, contact a Northwest Arkansas employment lawyer to evaluate your rights.