Chattanooga Wage Dispute Lawyer

When an employer refuses to pay its employees, those employees could have legal recourse against their employer. When bills begin to stack because of your lack of owed pay, you need to contact an experienced attorney familiar with these cases. A Chattanooga wage dispute lawyer could help you recover the back-pay you are owed.

Wage Disputes in Chattanooga Defined

A wage dispute is typically where an employer fails to follow the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act by either failing to pay employees minimum wage, failing to pay employees for all the time they work, or failing to pay employees overtime that is required by law. While this law is clear-cut, it is nonetheless important to retain the services of an experienced wage theft attorney in Chattanooga.

When Wage Disputes Typically Occur

A wage dispute might occur in Chattanooga when employers decide not to pay their employees minimum wage or decide not to pay their employees overtime. Sometimes attorneys have clients where their employers just do not pay overtime at all. Other times, attorneys may find that the employers have come up with their own pay structure such as paying straight time instead of time and a half for overtime. In extreme cases, an employer may have required the employees to work off the clock and not pay them for time worked. In those situations, the employee might have a case against the employer for their unpaid overtime that should have been paid.

Because of the sensitive nature of these cases, having an attorney on-hand who could help potential clients with the steps required to file a claim is invaluable.

Misconceptions of Equal Pay and Equal Work in Chattanooga

Chattanooga does not provide any specific protections for equal pay. However, there is a federal law called the Equal Pay Act that provides that men and women must be paid the same or similar rate for doing the same work. Women cannot be discriminated against based on their gender when it comes to pay.

An Employee’s First Steps When Addressing Wage Disputes in Chattanooga

When attempting to address a wage dispute in Chattanooga, employees should first contact human resources (HR) and voice their complaints. Employees should then contact an attorney who works in minimum wage and overtime law for an opinion about whether they might have a case.

Additionally, employees who think they have a wage dispute claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act should contact the United States Department of Labor.

The Authority of the U.S. Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor has the ability to initiate an investigation into employers who may be violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, issue penalties to employers who may be violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, and potentially prosecute them. An attorney could be a useful liaison between the victims of wage theft, the wrongful parties involved, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Importance of Documentation and the Fair Labor Standards Act

Documentation is very important in a Fair Labor Standards Act case. One of the things that employees need to show is that they actually worked the time for which they are claiming minimum wage or overtime violations. That could involve an employer who was working employees off the clock. In these situations, it could be important for employees to keep any sort of documentation of the hours they worked.

For other types of violations, it might just be a matter of looking at the employees’ timesheets and their paystubs and talking to an attorney about whether they are being paid in a legal manner under the Fair Labor Standards Act. To make that determination, the attorney will often need to see a large number of the employees’ timesheets and paystubs. Employees have to keep up with those timesheets and paystubs to make it more likely that an attorney could help them with their case.

Federal Agencies that Oversee Wage Theft

On a federal level, the United States Department of Labor is responsible for enforcing the wage theft laws. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act also provides a private cause of action for employees where they may hire an attorney and file a lawsuit and enforce their own case through the state or federal court system.

How Wage Theft Cases in Chattanooga Are Typically Pursued

Wage theft cases could often be pursued by a variety of methods. Sometimes employees contact the United States Department of Labor and find a solution through that method. Most of the time, however, employees contact an attorney who works in wage and hour law. The attorney may work to settle their case with their employer to get the unpaid minimum wage or overtime owed. They could also get these negligent employers to pay the correct minimum wage over time in the future.

Penalties and Sanctions Against Willfully Negligent Employers in Chattanooga Wage Theft Cases

When an employer engages in willful violations, the amount of damages that an employee could recover when filing a lawsuit could change. If what the employer is doing is willful or in bad faith, it increases the chances that the employee recovers three years of back-pay instead of two years. That employee could also receive liquidated damages and recover double the amount of their unpaid wages or overtime.

Contact a Wage Theft Attorney Today

Taking a stand against an employer who has not paid you what you owe is a daunting task. Aside from the anxiety that you might feel about the legal process, you may also feel worried about your future employment. When employers neglect to pay their employees what is owed, those employees have grounds for a legal case. Reach out today to discuss your options with a Chattanooga wage dispute lawyer.