During difficult economic times, workers need to be wary of wage theft violations by their employers that deny them their rightful pay, especially at the intersection of federal and state employment laws. There are common practice rules in industry-specific jobs that the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) and Illinois law address. In some cases, employers are unaware of these laws or ignore them altogether.
These wage violations misuse FLSA exemptions or misinterpret overtime, minimum wage or backpay guarantees. Workers whose pay may be affected include servers and bartenders who rely on tips, sales representatives who work on a commission basis, and farm workers who are denied fair pay.
Some industry-related disputes
Common industry-related violations are over minimum and overtime laws, including misinterpretations of specific exemptions allowed under federal law. These complex cases require a detailed knowledge of both federal and state employment laws and include:
- Workers who are paid on a commission basis in retail and service industry establishments can suffer from employers who misuse the FSLA exemptions for commission sales roles, or who violate minimum wage and overtime laws when business is slow.
- Farm workers, especially on small farms, whose employers either do not maintain proper records of working hours of their employees or force them to work on a piece-rate basis, are denied their full pay.
- Bartenders, servers and room service personnel that rely on tips to meet minimum wage requirements, face wage theft when businesses misapply tip credit or tip pooling, or the base rate for tipped workers when calculating time-and-a-half. Overtime should be calculated based on the hourly minimum wage of $8.25 for the state of Illinois, and $10.50 for Chicago.
- Employees who work irregular hours, such as firemen, news reporters or on-call servicemen, or those who work under a Belo plan, can be subjected to wage theft and contract violations.
- Workers who have dual jobs within the same company face employers who split their pay into two different payroll systems, avoiding overtime pay or tip-related exceptions when calculating minimum wage.
Finding an employment law attorney in Chicago
Billhorn Law Firm in Chicago has represented clients for over 30 years when employers attempt to violate FSLA and other wage laws affecting overtime, minimum wage and other payroll violations. Our legal team has unique experience litigating complex wage and hour disputes, and holding employers accountable for backpay and lost wages. If you are facing labor dispute, we can help you fight for your rights and the wages to which you are entitled under the law.