Wage Dispute Attorneys in Charleston, West Virginia
Employees are guaranteed certain rights in the workplace by virtue of both federal and state legislation. Among these rights are requirements for receiving a minimum wage, being fairly compensated for overtime work, having your wage and employment records properly kept, and regulating when and for which industries minors can work.
At the height of the Great Depression, the Franklin Roosevelt administration enacted the landmark Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which governs the four areas mentioned above. State and federal agencies are enacted so that you are compensated fairly by your employer. Those agencies field complaints, investigate issues, and seek resolutions for the issues at hand.
If you are in a dispute with your employer over unpaid wages in or around Charleston, West Virginia, contact our employment law attorneys at Atkinson & Frampton, PLLC. Your future is at stake in a dispute with your employer, and we are prepared to advocate aggressively for you while protecting your rights under the law.
Atkinson & Frampton, PLLC also proudly serves clients throughout the state including Morgantown, Huntington, Beckley, Martinsburg, and Parkersburg. We are focused on correcting wrongs in the workplace wherever they occur.
Wage and Hour Laws
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, also known as the Wagner Act, was landmark legislation aimed at protecting employees in the workplace. Prior to its passage, about a dozen states had enacted minimum wage laws. The FLSA made paying a minimum wage a national requirement, and it delegated the task of enforcing minimum wage law (and other aspects of the FLSA) to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The other three groundbreaking areas of employment law that the FLSA established include the following:
Payment of overtime wages after working 40 hours in a workweek.
Employers keeping proper records of wage and hour issues
Child labor restrictions
It’s important that you understand your rights regarding these laws. At our firm, we are more than prepared to help you fight for those rights and for the best possible outcome.
First, know that overtime was, and still is, defined as one-and-a-half times the regular wage for each hour past 40.
If your employer has not been paying you fairly, you will need to go through the Department of Labor, specifically in their Wage and Hour Division. They field complaints from workers and then investigate the situation. The Department of Labor has the authority to help the wronged employee to recover back wages, as well as fine the employer with civil money penalties.
In West Virginia, two laws cover the same ground as the FLSA, but with a state focus. If an employee has a wage and hour issue at work, he or she can file a complaint either on the federal level or with the West Virginia Division of Labor. However, the Division will often defer to the U.S. Division of Labor if the company under question, or at least 80 percent of the company’s employees, are covered by the FLSA, especially in cases of overtime disputes.
However, in order to collect liquidated damages must obtain a legal judgment. This means that they receive back an equal amount to what they were owed at the time. Getting the help of an attorney is the best course of action for this.
Exempt and Non-Exempt Employees
Generally, a non-exempt employee is someone who works for an hourly wage, and an exempt employee is someone who receives a salary. Exempt employees, for example, are not eligible for overtime pay. Exempt employees generally work in administrative, professional, executive, computer or outside sales roles.
Since January 1, 2020, to be considered exempt, an employee must work in one of the fields listed above and earn at least $684 a week, at a rate of no less than $27.63 an hour. For outside sales employees, however, there is no minimum salary required.
Common Wage and Hour Disputes
Probably the most common of all disputes involve unpaid overtime wages or commissions. Some employers are notorious for requesting (sometimes requiring) employees to work “off the clock.” For instance, the employer may contact an employee at home after work with a question or a task to be done because “it’s needed first thing tomorrow.”
The employer may feel this is just part of the job, but in truth, it represents overtime work. Even if an employee decides to stay late to finish a project after punching out, that is considered overtime, even if the employer didn’t request the extra effort or approve the overtime. Employers have an obligation to monitor the hours of their non-exempt employees.
Other disputes can arise over meals and break times, benefits, even an employee’s classification. The employee may question why some people are exempt and paid more and believe that’s what they deserve as well.
Wage Dispute Attorneys in Charleston, West Virginia
As an employee, you deserve to fight for your rights when it comes to violations of your wage and other employment rights. Many employees are fearful of speaking up because they sense the employer may terminate them for doing so, but retaliation by an employer is against the law. Rather than sitting quietly for fear of being demoted or terminated, you need to take action against an unjust act against you at work. Reach out to us at Atkinson & Frampton, PLLC immediately if you have been subject to a wage or hour violation at your place of work. We will assess the situation, advise you of your best options going forward, and if need be, launch a lawsuit and represent you aggressively.