There are employers out there who will do anything they can to avoid holding up their obligations to their employees. Quite often, this is demonstrated by the employer trying to withhold pay that is legitimately owed to the employee. This can put employees in a very bad situation. It can, in fact, put them between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
Some employees who are not being paid the money they’re owed end up not saying anything about it because they don’t want to lose their job. Even though they may not be getting paid the full amount of money that they have coming to them, they may still be dependent upon that job to pay their bills, support their family and to provide them with enough income to get by. This opens up the door for unethical employers to intimidate and harass their employees to the point that those employees end up working for free, in some cases. This should never happen.
Reporting wage violations.
The first thing you need to do in one of these situations is report it to the authorities. Employers cannot withhold pay that you are legitimately owed and, if there is a pattern of this behavior on the part of the employer, there may be a criminal investigation launched into their practices. This, of course, does not eliminate the fear factor that tends to keep people from taking action. At some point, it may be incumbent upon you to act, even if that means losing your job.
You have another option that may allow you to get paid the money you are owed. This is filing a lawsuit in civil court. You can file an unpaid overtime complaint with the authorities or your union and, following that, you can look into taking a civil action against the employer.
An attorney may be willing to take one of these claims on a contingency basis. This allows you to sit down with them for free and to get a consultation so they can determine whether or not it’s likely that they can help you get the money that you are owed. If you win your claim, the attorney’s fees and other costs will come out of the jury award. Realize that the attorney may encourage you to sue for more than the overtime you are owed. This is simply because the employer has put you through unreasonable hardship by denying you the pay that you rightly deserved.