A number of recent class action lawsuits brought by employees against their employers have called attention to the long-time problem of wage theft. Wage theft occurs when an employer fails to pay an employee all of the wages earned by the employee and can happen in any industry and to all types of employees. Here are a few common types of wage theft to watch out for:
- Working off the clock: Some employers may require employees to work before or after their scheduled hours doing things like putting on required protective gear, cleaning up or completing required paperwork, but will only pay the employee for the scheduled shift.
- Failing to pay overtime: The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay non-exempt employees time and a half for hours worked over 40. Some employers will fail to pay the increased rate for overtime or may incorrectly classify employees as exempt in an attempt to avoid paying overtime.
- Failing to pay for travel time: Employers are required to pay employees for certain travel time. However some employers refuse to do so.
- Failing to pay for training time: Employers must pay employees while attending certain training sessions that are required by the employer.
- Withholding pay: Some employers may take impermissible deductions from an employee paycheck or may withhold an employee's last check.
For Iowa workers, there are two laws aimed at protecting employees from wage theft—The Fair Labor Standards Act and The Iowa Wage Payment Collection Act. Often, claims for wage theft are filed as class action lawsuits on behalf of all employees of an employer who have been a victim of the theft. Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in a series of cases involving whether employers can include arbitration agreements and class action waiver in their employee agreements. The Court has not yet issued a ruling, but you can read more about the case here.
If you believe your employer has committed wage theft and you would like to discuss whether you have a claim against your employer, please call our office at (319) 826-2250.