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Wage & Hour Laws -- Employee

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What to Do if You Have Not Received the Pay You Are Entitled To

You go to work every day and perform your job, and you expect to be paid in return. You probably rely on that pay to meet some, if not all, of your financial obligations.

So, it can be particularly troublesome when you are not paid fairly. You are not, however, without options. This applies to people who work for minimum wage or receive a substantial hourly wage or salary.

Additionally, if you think your pay reflects what you believe to be discrimination based on your race, sex, religion, or other protected class, then you should follow the steps outlined below.

Talk to Your Employer

The first thing that you should do is talk with your employer. It is a good idea to bring recent pay stubs to your meeting and to present evidence of your claim in writing.

While an employer should not retaliate against you for bringing a more formal claim with a government agency or in court, it can strain working relationships and create an uncomfortable work environment.

Therefore, you should try to work things out with your employer before involving outside agencies, whenever possible. However, you should be aware of any potential time limits for filing complaints with government agencies or for filing a lawsuit, so that you do not forego those resolution options.

Contact the Appropriate Government Agencies

If your employer is unwilling to work with you to resolve your dispute, then the next step in your quest to receive the pay that is due is to contact the appropriate government agency.

If you are covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and have a claim that you were not paid your wages or appropriate overtime pay, then you should contact the Department of Labor Wage and Hours Division (DOL), which can investigate your claims.

If your claim involves one of discrimination, then you should contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which like the DOL, can investigate and recover unpaid wages for employees. State agencies may also be able to perform similar functions concerning specific state laws. You may choose to hire an employment law attorney to help you with your claim, or you can file it on your own.

Contact an Employment Law Attorney

If you need to take the next step in recovering your wages, then you will likely want to hire an employment law attorney. The next stage would be to sue your employer in federal court for federal law violations or state court for state law violations.

If you have an explicit employment contract with your employer that was breached, then you may also be able to sue in state court for breach of contract. Your employment law attorney can advise you about all of your options.

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