A recent article underscored the prevalence of wage theft – the failure of employers to pay workers the amount of wages they are entitled to. Addressing “wage theft” can be hard, workers often fear retaliation if they complain about missing wages or believe that they have not been paid all the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Many are scared and fear termination – some companies threaten to fire employees or even to force deportation of undocumented workers.
However, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects workers from retaliation and wage violations. These protections also apply to undocumented workers. The Fair Labor Standards Act (the FLSA) provides that all workers must be paid at least minimum wage and non-exempt workers who put in more than 40 hours in any work week are entitled to be paid at a rate of one and one-half their standard rate of pay for time worked beyond those 40 hours. Further, the FLSA protects workers by making it illegal to retaliate against them for complaining about potential wage violations. This means even if your employer has not made a mistake concerning your wages, if you complain and suffer any negative work consequences as a result, you may be able to file a retaliation lawsuit and seek damages. Retaliation claims may be based on a variety of work place actions such as firing, giving you less desirable shifts or locations, or failing to promote.