Wage and Hour Violations

Wage and Hour Violations

Wage and hour violations refer to instances when employers do not comply with the wage and hour laws set forth by federal, state, or local regulations. These laws establish minimum standards for things such as minimum wage, overtime, meal and rest breaks, and record-keeping practices.

Here are some examples of wage and hour violations:

Minimum Wage Violations: Employers are required to pay their employees at least the federal, state, or local minimum wage, whichever rate is highest. If they fail to do so, it’s a wage and hour violation.

Overtime Violations: Non-exempt employees are typically entitled to one-and-a-half times their regular pay rate for any hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. If employers fail to pay this overtime rate, it’s a violation.

Misclassification of Employees: Some employers may incorrectly classify workers as “exempt” (not eligible for overtime pay) or as “independent contractors” (not covered by most employment laws) to avoid paying overtime or providing other benefits.

Unpaid Work Time: This can include failing to pay for work done “off the clock”, not paying for required training or preparation time, or not paying for rest breaks or meal periods when the employee is still required to work.

Failure to Provide Rest and Meal Breaks: In some jurisdictions, employers are required to provide certain rest and meal breaks. If employers do not provide these breaks as required by law, it’s a violation.

Illegal Deductions: Employers may unlawfully deduct costs from employees’ wages, such as uniform expenses or cash register shortages.

Tipped Employees Violations: Employers of tipped employees (like servers or bartenders) have specific laws they must follow, including paying a minimum cash wage and ensuring that tips plus the cash wage equal at least the full minimum wage.

Failure to Pay Final Wages: Depending on the jurisdiction, there may be specific laws regarding when final paychecks must be given after an employee leaves a job.

Wage and Hour Disputes FAQ


Wage and hour disputes are legal conflicts that revolve around issues related to an employee’s compensation, working hours, and labor practices. These disputes often arise when employees allege that their employer has not properly compensated them according to relevant labor laws. Common scenarios include claims of unpaid overtime, minimum wage violations, misclassification of employees as exempt from overtime, failure to provide required breaks or meal periods, and inaccurate record-keeping of hours worked. Disputes can also stem from issues like unauthorized deductions from wages or wrongful withholding of pay. Wage and hour disputes can arise due to misunderstandings, negligence, or intentional violations by employers. Employees have legal rights to fair and accurate compensation, and if these rights are infringed upon, they can pursue legal action to seek remedies and recover unpaid wages or damages.

Yes, you can take legal action if your employer fails to pay you the proper wages. Labor laws require employers to provide employees with fair and accurate compensation for their work. If your employer violates these laws by underpaying you, withholding wages, failing to pay overtime, or engaging in other wage-related violations, you have the right to pursue legal action. Start by documenting your hours worked, pay records, and any communication related to your wages. Consult with an experienced employment attorney who specializes in wage and hour disputes to assess the strength of your case. They can guide you through the legal process, help you understand your rights, and advocate on your behalf to recover the unpaid wages or compensation you’re entitled to receive.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal labor law in the United States that establishes standards for minimum wage, overtime pay, and child labor. The FLSA mandates that covered employers pay their employees at least the federal minimum wage and provides guidelines for overtime pay, stipulating that eligible employees must receive time-and-a-half their regular pay rate for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. The FLSA also defines regulations for record-keeping and prohibits oppressive child labor practices. In relation to wage and hour disputes, the FLSA serves as a crucial legal framework. Employees who believe their employers have violated FLSA provisions by underpaying them, denying them overtime pay, or engaging in other wage-related violations can pursue legal action to recover unpaid wages, damages, and penalties. The FLSA provides protections and remedies for employees who find themselves in disputes over their wages and working hours.

You can file a claim for various types of wage and hour violations that stem from your employer’s failure to comply with labor laws and regulations. Common violations include unpaid overtime, where eligible employees are not properly compensated at a rate of time-and-a-half for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek; minimum wage violations, where employees are not paid the mandated minimum wage for their jurisdiction; off-the-clock work, where employers require employees to work without compensation; misclassification of employees as exempt from overtime pay, when they should be classified as non-exempt; failure to provide required meal or rest breaks; and unlawful deductions from wages. If you suspect that your employer has committed any of these violations or other wage-related infractions, you have the right to file a claim to recover unpaid wages, damages, and other appropriate remedies under the applicable labor laws and regulations. Consulting with an experienced employment attorney is recommended to understand your rights, assess the validity of your claim, and navigate the legal process effectively.


Yes, your employer can classify you as exempt from overtime pay, but this classification must be made in accordance with specific criteria outlined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and applicable state labor laws. Exempt employees are generally those who meet certain job duties and salary level requirements. To be considered exempt, your job duties must primarily involve executive, administrative, professional, or outside sales tasks. Additionally, you must be paid on a salary basis that meets or exceeds the minimum salary threshold set by the FLSA. Misclassification of employees as exempt when they don’t meet these criteria is a common wage and hour violation. If you believe you’ve been misclassified as exempt and are being denied overtime pay, consulting with an employment attorney can help you determine the accuracy of your classification and take appropriate action to recover any unpaid wages you may be entitled to.

Determining whether you are correctly classified as an employee or an independent contractor involves assessing the nature of your working relationship with the entity you provide services to. Key factors that contribute to this determination include the level of control the entity has over your work, the degree of independence you have, the extent to which you can work for other entities, the nature of the services you provide, and the tools and resources you use. Generally, employees are under more direct control and direction from the employer, while independent contractors have greater autonomy in how they perform their tasks. Misclassification can have significant implications for your rights and benefits, including wage and hour protections. If you’re uncertain about your classification, consulting with an employment attorney who specializes in wage and hour issues can provide you with guidance on your legal status and help you understand your rights and responsibilities.

The minimum wage is the legally mandated lowest hourly rate that employers are required to pay their employees. The exact minimum wage varies by jurisdiction, as federal, state, and local laws set different standards. Employers are generally prohibited from paying employees less than the minimum wage applicable in their area. Exceptions may exist for certain categories of workers, such as those who receive tips or individuals with disabilities. Employers must adhere to the higher of the federal, state, or local minimum wage, ensuring that employees are compensated fairly for their work. If you believe your employer is paying you less than the legally mandated minimum wage, it’s essential to consult with an employment attorney who can assess your situation and help you take appropriate action to recover the unpaid wages you are owed.

Whether you’re entitled to overtime pay depends on your classification as an exempt or non-exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or relevant state labor laws. Non-exempt employees are generally entitled to overtime pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Overtime pay is usually calculated at a rate of one and a half times the employee’s regular hourly wage. For example, if your regular hourly wage is $15, your overtime rate would be $22.50 per hour. Some jurisdictions may have variations in overtime calculations or additional requirements. Exempt employees, on the other hand, are typically not eligible for overtime pay. It’s important to note that misclassification as exempt can result in wage and hour violations. Consulting an employment attorney who specializes in wage and hour matters can help you understand your classification, rights, and the calculation of overtime pay applicable to your situation.

No, your employer generally cannot force you to work off the clock without proper compensation. Hours worked off the clock, which include any time spent performing job-related tasks for the benefit of your employer, are generally subject to wage and hour laws. Employers are required to pay you for all hours worked, including overtime if applicable, and must keep accurate records of your working hours. Asking or requiring you to work off the clock, even if it’s before or after your scheduled shift, can constitute a wage and hour violation. If you believe you’ve been asked to work off the clock without proper compensation, consulting with an employment attorney who specializes in wage and hour disputes is advised. They can assess your situation, explain your rights, and guide you on the appropriate steps to take to ensure fair compensation for your work.

The timeframe within which you can claim unpaid wages and overtime varies based on jurisdiction and applicable labor laws. Generally, you can typically claim unpaid wages and overtime for a specific period, often ranging from two to three years, depending on the jurisdiction. However, some jurisdictions may allow claims to go back further, particularly in cases involving willful violations by the employer. It’s important to consult an employment attorney who specializes in wage and hour disputes to understand the specific statute of limitations applicable in your situation. They can help you determine the timeframe within which you can file a claim for unpaid wages and overtime and guide you on the appropriate course of action to recover the compensation you are owed.


If you believe your employer is violating wage and hour laws, it’s important to take the following steps to protect your rights. First, document all relevant information, including your work hours, pay records, and any communication related to your compensation. Consult with an employment attorney who specializes in wage and hour disputes to assess the validity of your claim and understand your rights. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney might recommend sending a written complaint to your employer or filing a complaint with the appropriate government agency, such as the Department of Labor. Keep in mind that retaliation for asserting your rights is prohibited, so safeguard your documentation and consult your attorney before taking any actions that might affect your employment. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process, ensure your rights are protected, and help you seek remedies for any wage and hour violations.


No, you generally cannot be fired or face retaliation for pursuing a wage and hour dispute. Labor laws protect employees from retaliation for asserting their rights under wage and hour laws. This includes filing complaints, participating in investigations, or taking legal action related to wage and hour violations. If your employer retaliates against you by firing you, demoting you, cutting your hours, or engaging in any other adverse actions because you’ve pursued a wage and hour dispute, it could constitute a separate violation of your rights. It’s essential to document any instances of retaliation and consult with an experienced employment attorney who specializes in wage and hour disputes. They can guide you on how to protect your rights, take appropriate action to address retaliation, and seek remedies for any harm you’ve suffered as a result.


If you win a wage and hour dispute case, the compensation you can seek depends on the specifics of your case and the damages you’ve incurred due to the wage and hour violations. Possible compensation includes back pay, which covers unpaid wages for hours worked but not properly compensated. You may also be entitled to unpaid overtime, calculated at a rate of one and a half times your regular hourly wage for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. In cases of willful violations, you might seek liquidated damages, which are typically an additional amount equal to the back pay owed. Additionally, you can pursue reimbursement for any legal fees and costs associated with pursuing your case. Consulting with an experienced employment attorney who specializes in wage and hour disputes is crucial to accurately assess the compensation you can seek and navigate the legal process effectively to secure the appropriate remedies for your situation.

Yes, there is a time limit for filing a wage and hour dispute claim, known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations varies based on jurisdiction and the specific violation. Typically, it ranges from two to three years from the date of the violation or the date you should reasonably have become aware of it. However, in cases of willful violations or certain circumstances, the statute of limitations might be longer. It’s important to consult with an employment attorney who specializes in wage and hour disputes to understand the specific statute of limitations that applies in your situation. Failing to file within the statute of limitations could result in your claim being barred. An experienced attorney can help you determine the appropriate timeframe for filing your claim and guide you through the necessary steps to seek remedies for any wage and hour violations you’ve experienced.

Selecting the right attorney to handle your wage and hour dispute case is crucial for a successful outcome. Look for an attorney with a strong background in employment law, particularly in the area of wage and hour disputes. Consider their experience in handling cases similar to yours and their track record of achieving favorable results for clients. Personalized attention and clear communication are essential, so opt for an attorney who listens to your concerns, explains legal complexities in understandable terms, and keeps you informed throughout the process. Familiarity with local wage and hour laws and regulations is paramount, as these can vary by jurisdiction. Arrange consultations with potential attorneys to discuss your case, evaluate their expertise, and determine if you feel comfortable working with them. Ultimately, the right attorney should possess a deep understanding of wage and hour laws, a proven ability to advocate for employees’ rights, and a commitment to helping you navigate your dispute effectively.