Houston Wage and Hour Law Violations Lawyer

The United States Department of Labor enforces some of the most thorough labor laws in the nation. The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) covers minimum wage, overtime, and misclassification. Unfortunately, many employers try to cut corners and deny these federally-provided rights to their employees. The Houston wage and hour violations lawyers at Reich & Binstock work to ensure that all employees are treated in a fair manner and that employers are in compliance with all wage and hour laws in the workplace. Below, we’ll explain more about wage and hour law violations.

Minimum wage is the lowest amount that workers can legally be paid, with the exception of tipped workers (like servers, for example). The provisions for federal minimum wage can be found in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The current federal minimum wage sits at $7.25 per hour, but many states and cities have their own minimum wage laws

Generally, the average minimum wage across states is somewhere between $8 to $10. In bigger cities like NYC, minimum wage reaches $15 an hour. In the state of Washington, statewide minimum wage rates are as high as $13.50 per hour. 

In Texas, however, minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour. For tipped workers of more than $20 a month, the minimum wage is $2.13.

Your employer is legally obligated to pay you no less than minimum wage. If they are underpaying you, they are in violation of the FLSA and can be held legally accountable. 

Provisions for federal overtime are also contained in the FLSA. Unless an employee is exempt from overtime pay, employers must pay for any hours worked over 40 in a single workweek. The rate at which they are required to be paid is no less than time plus one-half of their regular pay rate. 

The Act does not put a limit on the number of hours an employee may work in a workweek, given the fact that they are above the age of 16. In addition, it does not require overtime pay for time worked on weekends, holidays, or other days of rest unless overtime is worked on these days.

Under federal law, certain individuals may be exempt from receiving overtime pay. However, just because your employer tells you that you’re exempt doesn’t mean that you are. They may be misclassifying you (see below). 

The following job positions are classified as exempt from overtime pay:

  • Executive
    • The employee’s primary duty is to manage the company or a department/subdivision of the company. 
    • Must supervise the work of at least two other full-time employees. 
    • Has the authority to hire and fire employees or otherwise influence these decisions. 
  • Administrative
    • The employee’s primary duty is to perform office or non-manual work related to the management or operations of a business.
    • Must have the ability to exercise discretion and independent judgment for significant matters.
    • Clerical workers, secretaries, and administrative assistants do not fall into this category and are entitled to overtime pay.
  • Computer employee
    • Generally includes computer systems analysts, programmers, and software engineers.
    • Must make more than $27.63 per hour.
    • Help desk workers, computer hardware repair and manufacturing workers, and tech support do not fall into this category and are entitled to overtime pay.
  • Outside sales
    • The employee’s primary duty is to make sales or obtain signed service contracts.
    • Must regularly engage in sales away from the employer’s main place of business.
    • Salespeople who work from a corporate office do not fall into this category and are entitled to overtime pay.
  • Professional 
    • The employee’s primary duty is to perform work that requires advanced knowledge and the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment. 
    • Must have advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning and must have qualifications that reflect a prolonged course of specialized instruction. 
    • This category often includes professions like doctors, accountants, teachers, and engineers. 

Employees who receive less than $455 in salary per week will not be exempt from overtime pay, regardless of whether or not they fall into one of the above positions.

Misclassification occurs when an employer misclassified their workers in a way that affects their pay, protections, and benefits. For example, an employer claims a worker is an independent contractor, but the law claims they are an employee. Another example may be that they claim the worker is exempt from overtime pay when they are not. This misclassification can result in tax problems for the business and its employees and warrant a valid wage and hour law violation claim.

Payment of wages is governed by federal and state laws. Each set of labor laws is extensive and the intertwining of such gets complicated. If your employer hasn't paid you fully, you may be entitled to penalties. In certain circumstances, an employer's failure to pay your wages, may give you the grounds to bring other claims.

You may need a wage and hour violation lawyer if your employer failed to pay you:

  • minimum wage
  • for legal break time
  • "off the clock" work
  • time to put on/take off safety/work-related gear
  • for undertaken, accrued vacation time
  • overtime
  • travel time during workday that is related to your work

Contact a Wage & Hour Law Violation Attorney Today

At Reich & Binstock, we handle various types of civil litigation cases involving all areas of labor and employment. Our Texas attorneys have the skill, knowledge, experience, and dedication it takes to fight for workers and their promised rights. If you have any more questions or if you believe you have been subject to wage & hour law violations, reach out to Attorneys at Law Reich & Binstock today. Call our Houston office at 713-622-7271 or 800-622-7271 toll free or fill out our contact form below for a free case consultation.

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