5 Common Illegal Wage Practices and What to do About Them

Far too many employers will do whatever they can to try to save a buck or two, and far too often those savings come at the expense of the wages you, as the employee, deserve.

Make no mistake, underpayment or nonpayment of wages you have earned is a violation of the law, and you have the right to seek proper compensation. However, unscrupulous employers can be very sneaky and creative in the ways they take advantage of their employees.

Below we’ve detailed five common illegal wage practices to watch out for and what to do about them.

1) Overtime issues

Many employers hate overtime, and will do whatever they can to avoid paying it or to underpay it. For example, an employer may pay less than the time-and-a-half of your normal wage that is required for overtime hours. They may also attempt to make you work off the clock to avoid having to pay overtime or make you work beyond 40 hours in a week and simply not pay you any overtime for the extra hours. None of these actions are legal.

2) Misclassifying employees

Generally, employees do not have to pay overtime to their salaried employees, so they will often attempt to classify their employees as “salaried” when they should rightfully be classified as “hourly.” In order to avoid paying certain benefits, some employers may also attempt to classify workers as “independent contractors” when, under the law, they should be classified as actual employees.

3) Improper deductions for breaks

The law requires that most employees be given break time for things like lunch. Some employers may try to illegally deduct time for breaks from your paycheck, often even when you never took the break, in order to pay you less.

4) Skimming

This one is pretty straightforward. Employers may simply skim money that you have earned off your paycheck in hopes you will not notice. They may also skim hours off your time log and try to claim you did not work as much as you did.

5) Tip issues

Employees who work for tips are at high risk for illegal wage practices. Employers will attempt to not pay their tipped employees minimum wage or force the employee to share their tips with management. As a tipped worked, you are entitled to all your tips as well as minimum wage, even if you don’t make minimum wage in tips in a given week.

For all five of these wage issues, the first thing you need to do is carefully track your hours. Keep a log of the precise dates and times you worked, when you took breaks, and details about the work you were doing. Scrutinize every paycheck you receive closely and make sure it adds up with your calculations for the hours you worked. Next, if you believe your employer is acting illegally when it comes to your wages and benefits, contact Anderson Dodson. We can advise you about what steps you need to take and fight to ensure you get paid every penny you are owed.

Remember, this is not an exhaustive list of illegal wage practices. Employers are constantly finding new ways to take advantage of their employees. Don’t allow yourself to be a victim, fight for your wage rights as an employee and give us a call today.

Written by AndersonDodson


AndersonDodson, P.C. is a law firm dedicated to holding employers accountable for paying their employees correctly. We are aggressive and tenacious when we need to be, if that’s what it takes to get the job done. Sometimes the playground bully needs to be brought down a notch, and we are plenty equipped for a fight if it becomes necessary. But we also don’t go looking for a fight. Our mission is to get our clients paid what the law says they deserve, not to stir up trouble where none is needed. Trouble is distracting from life, and living life should always come first.