What Rights Do I Have if My Employer Refuses to Pay Me?

There are federal and state laws in place that protect employees. That includes ensuring that employers pay their workers the mandated minimum wage for their work, including overtime pay.

Unfortunately, there are instances when employers either do not pay employees fair compensation, fail to pay employees on time, or do not pay their hard-working employees at all. This violates state and federal laws. If you have not received a paycheck or have not been paid in full for the hours you worked, you may be able to file a wage and hour claim to recover damages.

Several federal and state laws protect employees who have encountered wage theft, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping, and youth employment standards. According to the FLSA, employers must pay employees the current minimum wage and overtime pay for the hours worked beyond the 40-hour workweek. Employers must also designate a regular pay schedule and issue paychecks on the established payday.

New Jersey has some of the most rigid wage theft laws. The New Jersey Wage Theft Act (WTA) was signed into law in 2019 and provided more comprehensive protections for employees and harsher penalties. For example, the Act extended the statute of limitations for filing a WTA complaint from two years to six years. In addition, employees can recover up to 200 percent in damages from their employer for unpaid wages, attorney fees, and other costs. Employers also face steep fines and imprisonment if it can be proven that there is a pattern of WTA violations.

What Are Examples of Pay Violations?

Despite the federal and state laws that are in place to protect employees and ensure that they receive a fair wage and are paid in a timely fashion, employers have been cited in several lawsuits for pay violations. The following are examples of the most common pay violations:

  • Withholding pay or making deductions that you did not authorize.
  • Paying you less than the minimum wage.
  • Failure to pay overtime
  • Docking your pay as a form of punishment
  • Failure to pay for regular work preparations

What Should I Do If My Employer Has Not Paid Me?

You can take several steps if your employer has not paid you. You should contact your immediate supervisor to determine whether the unpaid wages were due to a technical issue or if there is some other reasonable explanation. It is always a good idea to give your employer the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to rectify the situation. If your employer does not have an explanation for the unpaid wages and the problem continues, there are other options you can pursue.

You may file a claim with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. An experienced employment lawyer will thoroughly review your case and recommend the best course of action.

South Jersey Employment Lawyer at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC Represent Workers Encountering Wage Violations

If your employer has withheld wages or has not compensated you for overtime hours, you are urged to contact our South Jersey employment lawyer at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC. Call us at 856-235-7075 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Burlington County, and Camden County.