As an honest, hardworking employee, it is easy to assume that your employer is doing everything by the book and that he or she would never dream of shorting you on pay. Unfortunately, not everyone is as honest as you are—maybe not even your employer.
Corporate scandals are so common that they are almost easy to ignore. Oh, another CEO was stealing money from the company account? What is new? A bank manager was caught stealing customer money? Unsurprising. Yet, no matter how commonplace corporate greed seems to be, people are always surprised when they themselves are the victims.
That said, a lot of employers break the laws in discreet ways, some intentionally to save a buck or two and some unwittingly. If you want to make sure that you are getting your fair share of compensation from your employer, it is important that you know your rights first. So, what are your rights as an employee? We will discuss the most important today.
You Have the Right to Minimum Wage, Even if You Work for Tips
One of the most common misconceptions is that people who work for tips do not have the right to an hourly wage. That is not true. If you make more than $30 a month in tips, then your employer can legally pay you $2.13 an hour. However, if your wage combined with your tips does not equal the federal hourly minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour, your employer must make up the difference. If your employer has led you to believe otherwise, he or she is either uninformed or intentionally lying to you.
Your Employer Cannot Dock Your Pay
So, you messed up big and the best way your employer thought to punish you was to dock your pay. You may have thought that that was fair, considering that you cost him or her big bucks, but in actuality, docking an employee’s pay as punishment is a huge no-no. If you are salaried and your employer docks your pay because you did not work the full 40 hours, he or she may be forced to pay you back pay, as well as compensate you for your troubles. If you are an hourly employee and your employer is dissatisfied with your level of work, he or she can perform an employee review and even let you go, but he or she cannot reduce your pay.
You Have the Right to be Paid Promptly
Though Texas does not have any state laws regarding when an employer must pay its employees (every other Friday, the 1st and 15th, etc.), federal law does state that employers must pay employees in a “prompt” fashion. If an employer does have a set payment schedule, he or she is required to stick to it, otherwise, employers must simply pay as soon after the end of a pay period as possible. All overtime pay for a pay period must be paid on the same day as an employee receives his or her regular paycheck.
Your Employer Cannot Dock Your Pay for Short Breaks
If you routinely take five minute coffee breaks between arriving for work and lunch, and another 15 minute break between lunch and the end of the workday, your employer might dock your pay by 20 minutes per day, a practice that you may believe is fair. It is not. The only break that is not compensable is the lunch break. Shorter breaks for coffee, going to the bathroom, checking in on the kids, etc., are included in an employee’s wages.
When to Contact a Fort Worth Employee’s Rights Attorney
If you think that your rights have been violated, and if you believe that your employer is not or has not compensated you fairly in the past, contact the Fort Worth employee’s rights lawyers at Herrmann Law right away. Even if you are unsure of your claim, it does not hurt to consult with a knowledgeable legal professional regarding the issue. Call our office today to schedule your free and private consultation.