What You Should Know about Wage and Hour Law – Guest Post

Wage and Hour Law


Federal and state specific wage & hour laws govern the fundamental standards of minimum wages and overtime pay in American workplaces. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the main federal law concerning wage and hour related aspects of workers’ rights in the United States. As per FLSA, American employers are required to –

  • Pay minimum wages to workers
  • Make overtime pay to workers
  • Provide child labor protection

Besides following the common FLSA standards, employers are also required by law to maintain accurate records of wages and hours. The FSLA affects both part- and full-time workers in the private sector as well as in federal, state & local governments.

The FLSA mandates that workers are paid a minimum wage of $7.25. Workers have a right to this ‘federal minimum wage,’ even if the established minimum wage in their state is lower.

The FLSA also states that workers should be paid overtime in case they work for a duration longer than 40 hours in a week; the overtime pay in this case cannot be less than one-half the standard rate of pay.

For instance, if you are paid $30 per hour at work, your overtime pay cannot be lower than $45.

Many states have also enacted separate laws that govern minimum wages, overtime pay, etc. Employers are required to adhere to both federal and state wage & hour laws that may involve different minimum wage requirements.

When You Have a Wage and Hour Dispute

Do you think your rights as a worker have been violated? Has your employer failed to comply with certain provisions of the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act)? You may have grounds for a claim under the FLSA.

First things first, you will probably need to file a claim with the Wage & Hour Division (WHD) of the United States of Department of Labor.

To determine whether your employer has violated the FLSA, the Wage & Hour Division (WHD) will conduct an investigation based on your claim.

Depending upon whether the WHD finds alleged violations to be true, it may penalize the employer. The department may ask the employer to alter their policies and ensure strict compliance with the FLSA.

What if you are not satisfied with the investigation of the WHD or the penalties enforced on your employer? Well, you can hire an employment law attorney in your city and file a private lawsuit against your employer.

Can Your Employer Fire You for Filing A Wage & Hour Claim?


The employers in the United States are prohibited by law to retaliate against workers who

  • Report wage & hour disputes or FLSA violations to the WHD
  • File a private lawsuit against their employers for alleged violation of employee rights protected by the FLSA

What Kind of Legal Issues Are Involved in Wage & Hour Lawsuits? 

  • Failure to pay minimum wages
  • Failure to make correct overtime pay
  • Denying vacation or medical leave
  • Denying pregnancy leave
  • Wrongful termination (not paying a worker their correct wages at the time of relieving them from the job)
  • Intentional discrimination or harassment that concerns wage and hour laws

What Kind of Evidence Should You Gather to Prove A Wage and Hour Dispute?

Federal and state laws are clear on what employers can or cannot do. Unfortunately, many employers continue to violate wage and hour laws. Millions of workers aren’t even paid the minimum wage. A recent survey report published by the EPI revealed that employers steal billions from workers’ paychecks each year.

An experienced employment law expert can help you gather evidence required to establish that your employer is on the wrong side of the law. But, workers should also know about the common documents that can help prove a wage and hour dispute.

When you suspect that you have a valid wage and dispute claim, you should start gathering the following documents:

  • Pay slips or paycheck stubs
  • Tax documentation
  • Work/shift logs that include information about when and how long workers have been at work
  • Receipts
  • Independent contractor agreements
  • Statements from other co-workers who have experienced similar issues
  • Various other documents that can help establish your wage amount and the no. of hours that you worked

Most Common Remedies in Wage & Hour Claims

In most cases where wage & hour claims are proven, employers are asked to compensate workers for the losses they have incurred. Often, the damages awarded, whether by the WHD or a court, include the unpaid wages and other losses that may be associated with the claim.

At times, remedies in wage and hour claims may also include the following:

  • The employer is asked to adjust their wage & hour policies so that they conform with both federal and state laws
  • Detailed investigations into how an employer maintains their records
  • Dismissal of a particular manager or supervisor who is found to be responsible for FLSA violations
  • Reinstatement of the worker in case they were fired from the job because of the wage and hour claim or lawsuit

Should You Hire An Attorney To Help With Wage & Hour Disputes?

Wage and hour violations are very common. Often, workers do not know that they have worked overtime. But, wage and hour claims aren’t exactly straightforward as some people would have you believe. It is advisable to consult and hire a local attorney who specializes in federal & state employment laws.

A local attorney can relate to your claim and would also have a better understanding of the local laws. When you wish to file a complaint with a state agency or appear in court for some reason, an experienced attorney can assist you in those matters as well.

Many employment lawyers do not charge an upfront fee for wage and hour lawsuits. They get paid only when they win.

With an experienced attorney, you stand a better chance of getting legal relief.

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