If you are an hourly worker, then the amount you receive in each paycheck is a reflection of how much time you put in at the job during the previous workweek. Given that you cannot count on a specific amount of pay the way that salaried workers can, there are additional protections in place for you as an hourly worker.
One of the most important is the right to full payment for the time that you work, including the right to overtime wages. Unfortunately, some companies will break the law by depriving their workers of their earned income. What are two of the more common forms of wage theft that could deprive you of the full compensation you deserve?
Off-the-clock work requirements
Employers cannot demand that you do work without pay, which is exactly what happens when you do off-the-clock tasks. Telling you that you have to show up before your shift begins and perform certain tasks before you clock in is a form of wage theft.
It is also wage theft for the company to have mandatory staff meetings or parties where job training or duties occur without compensation. A Sunday pizza party where everyone is off the clock is a form of wage theft if the company expects you to do a training module or deep clean part of the business. Any task that you perform for your employer should count toward how much you earn in wages.
Inappropriate adjustments to payroll records
Companies that want to reduce how much they pay in wages or to avoid pay expenses might go back into someone’s time clock records and shorten their shifts. In some cases, the goal may be to get someone back below the threshold for overtime pay.
Other times, it is a company-wide practice that deprives people of a few minutes of work time every shift, which adds up to many hours of unpaid work every year. If you have maintained your own time clock records and note that your paycheck is often a bit short compared to your personal records, then you may have reason to look more closely.
Pursuing a wage claim when your company doesn’t comply with state and federal pay laws will get you the wages you have earned and prompt them to change their practices.