Working hard for a wage is how most Texas residents earn their living. You may land among the numerous individuals who go to work day in and day out in order to obtain a paycheck that allows you to provide for yourself and your family. While your occupation may not be the most glamorous, or even what you truly want to do, you still appreciate the wages you earn.
Of course, when your paycheck seems off, you may wonder whether you miscalculated your hours or whether something unseemly has taken place. Unfortunately, many individuals across the country become the victims of wage theft and lose out on compensation they rightly earned. If you believe that this might have happened to you, you may have reason to take legal action.
What counts as wage theft?
Wage theft can come in many forms. Because it does not necessarily mean that an employer has directly taken funds from your paycheck (though in some cases it could), it can sometimes prove difficult to pinpoint whether wage theft has actually occurred. You and many other workers may simply trust the word of your employer and believe that the wages given to you are correct, or you may need your job so badly that you do not speak up about wrongdoing for fear of retaliation.
If you think you might have unfairly lost wages, you may want to determine whether any of the following actions took place:
- Having to work through lunch/dinner and rest breaks
- Working after hours even though you have clocked out
- Lack of pay for mandatory screenings or training
- Unreceived earned tips
- Having to pay for required uniforms or tools
This list does not encompass all forms of wage theft, and you may have experienced another scenario, but still went unpaid when you should have received compensation.
Annual wage theft
Reports indicate that wage theft continues to grow as a rampant issue. In fact, workers lose approximately $50 billion every year. This type of theft far outreaches other types of thefts including robberies, larcenies, automobile theft and burglaries, which in total come to approximately $14 billion lost each year. More individuals have filed legal claims for wage theft in recent years, but it is unclear whether such actions have increased or if workers have become more aware of their rights.
Fighting wage theft
If you believe that you have missed out on due compensation or that your employer has otherwise failed to properly pay you, you may wish to consider your legal options. Taking the applicable steps could help you work toward obtaining back pay for wage theft.