Employees sometimes have difficulty getting paid what they are owed. Wage and Hour disputes often arise when an employer does not pay an employee wages they earned, when an employer pays less than the minimum wage, or when an employer fails to pay overtime when an employee works more than forty hours a week.
There are two primary laws that protect your rights in wage and hour disputes: the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act.
What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?
The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes the minimum wage, overtime pay provisions, child labor protections, and record keeping requirements for most private sector and government employers. These standards apply to both full-time and part-time employees.
FLSA requires that covered employers pay their employees at least $7.25 an hour. Employers can violate this provision by requiring employees to clock out, but continue working. In other instances, companies violate FLSA by failing to pay employees for all hours worked, such as for on-call hours, hours spent for mandatory trainings, or hours spent commuting between job sites.
FLSA also requires certain categories of employees to be paid time-and-one half for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. Employees entitled to overtime compensation are often called “non-exempt” employees. Employees who believe that they may be eligible for overtime compensation should consult with a lawyer to determine if that is the case. The fact that an employee receives a salary does not necessarily mean they are exempt from receiving overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours a work week. In fact, salaried lower level managers have often been found to be eligible for overtime payment.
The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor administers and enforces FLSA.
What is the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act (NCWHA)?
The North Carolina Wage and Hour Act establishes protections that are in some ways more robust than those created by FLSA. For example, while FLSA establishes the minimum wage, the NCWHA requires employers to pay all agreed-upon wages, tips, and bonuses when they come due. As such, even employees who earn significantly more than the minimum wage may have a claim under the NCWHA if their employer fails to pay them what they are owed, or attempts to change their rate of compensation without advance notice.
Most of the NCWHA’s protections only apply to private sector employees – not government employees.
What can I do?
If you believe you are not being paid in accordance with the law, call Patterson Harkavy toll free at 1-800-458-2541 or contact us online today.