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Wage & Hour Violations / Unpaid wages

Unpaid wages and Commission Disputes

Employees have a right to be paid for the work they perform for their employer.  Federal and State laws set out requirements for employers in the payment of wages and set out remedies for the employee when these requirements are not adhered to.

Further, employees have rights pertaining to the accrual of sick leave and when they may use it, along with rights pertaining to accrued annual leave and the payment of that annual leave when their employment ends.

The Law Office of Ruth Ann Azeredo, LLC is experienced in assisting employees with their wage, leave and benefit matters.  If you believe your employer has failed to pay you earned wages or has failed to provide you required leave and benefits, we can help you assert your rights.

PROPER CLASSIFICATION AS AN EMPLOYEE OR INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR

There are times where an employer will classify an employee as an “independent contractor” instead of as an “employee.” Yet, it may be that the classification has been made incorrectly. Often, employers will pay an employee as an independent contractor when that employee is required to be paid as an employee.

Why does this matter? It matters because the law does not give the employer discretion to pay the employee as either an independent contractor or an employee. Where one is an employee, then the employer must pay that worker as an employee. This is so, even if the employee prefers to be paid as an independent contractor.

Employers may do this inadvertently or may do this to (a) avoid paying their required contributions; (b) to avoid costs for worker compensation protection for employees; (c) to avoid providing annual and sick leave; (d) to avoid paying the employee for all hours worked; (e) and to avoid paying overtime.

We have decades of experience in analyzing whether an employer is properly categorizing their employees as independent contractors. We bring claims against employers who improperly classify their employees as independent contractors. The damages and relief we seek includes back pay, exemplary damages (enhanced damages), and injunctive relief that they pay the employee as an employee moving forward.

For Businesses: We also defend businesses that are accused of improperly classifying an employee.

PROPERLY CATEGORIZING EMPLOYEES AS EITHER EXEMPT OR NONEXEMPT

The Federal Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., (FLSA) requires that employers properly categorize their employees as either exempt or nonexempt.

The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

Under the FLSA, covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage and overtime pay at a rate not less than 1 ½ times the regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

In addition, nonexempt employees must be paid for all hours worked, including time an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace.

Exempt employees are those categories of employees who do not have to be paid per hour worked and who are not subject to overtime laws.

IF YOU ARE A NONEXEMPT EMPLOYEE, HAVE YOU BEEN PAID FOR ALL HOURS WORKED?

There are times when an employer will not pay an employee for all hours that should be paid. As an example, this may occur where an employee works through a lunch break but does not get paid for that time, where the employer requires the employee to arrive early to be prepared to start the workday at a particular time, where the employee is required to remain “on call,” and other situations where the employee should be paid but is not.

AS A NONEXEMPT EMPLOYEE, HAVE YOU BEEN PAID THE OVERTIME THAT IS DUE TO YOU?

In most instances, employers are required to pay their nonexempt employees overtime rates. This means paying the employee 1 ½ times the regular rate for all time beyond 40 hours of work in a workweek. There are a few categories of nonexempt employees who are not subject to the overtime rule. It is important to understand whether one is an employee subject to overtime rules so as to ensure that all wages are being paid correctly.

IMPROPER DEDUCTIONS FROM PAYCHECKS

Employers are not, generally, allowed to make deductions from your wages, except those required by law or those the employee authorizes. Most states have limitations on what can be deducted from an employee’s paycheck. Not all states provide the same restrictions and it is important to understand which State’s law will apply to you. Where the employer is deducting amounts improperly, these laws provide rights and remedies to address improper deductions.

BEING PAID THE MINIMUM WAGE

Employers are not, generally, allowed to make deductions from your wages, except those required by law or those the employee authorizes. Most states have limitations on what can be deducted from an employee’s paycheck. Not all states provide the same restrictions and it is important to understand which State’s law will apply to you.

Where the employer is deducting amounts improperly, these laws provide rights and remedies to address improper deductions.

SALES COMMISSIONS DISPUTES

Many employees are paid in whole, or in part, on a commission basis. It is important to have a clear agreement as to how sales commissions will be paid, what amount will be paid, and when they will be paid. In addition it is critical that any contingency to a commission being “earned” is clearly stated so as to avoid a dispute.

Commission disputes arise in any industry where commissions are a means to pay the employee. Pharmaceutical reps, manufacturing reps, investment traders, auto salesperson, auto parts salesperson, home improvement salesperson, roofing salesperson, furniture salesperson, real estate brokers, and many others, rely on commission based employment.

When an employee is not paid commissions that are earned and owed, that employee not only has a breach of contract claim but may also have a wage claim.

At the Law Office of Ruth Ann Azeredo, LLC we have over twenty years of experience assisting both employees and employers with commission disputes in many industries, including pay-plus commission contracts, qualified leads, sales quotas, and performance incentives. We have represented clients in mediations, courts, and arbitrations, including FINRA arbitrations.

WE CAN HELP

At the Law Office of Ruth Ann Azeredo, LLC, we have decades of experience in classification issues and wage disputes. If you have not been paid what you have earned, we can bring claims on your behalf seeking those unpaid wages. If your employer has failed to pay you commissions that you are owed, we can represent you in seeking payment of those commissions.

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