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Common forms of wage theft in Illinois

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2021 | Wage & Hour Laws

All Illinois workers deserve to be paid for an honest day’s work. If you feel your employer is taking advantage of you by failing to pay you for all the hours you work, you may be entitled to damages for their violations of wage-and-hour laws.

Illinois employers have many ways of keeping wages owed to their employees. Here are some of the most common forms of wage theft.

Misclassifying non-exempt employees as exempt

Under the FLSA, employees who are classified as exempt are not entitled to overtime wages at a rate of one-and-one-half times their rate of pay for all hours worked over 40. Many employers mistakenly believe that white-collar employees cannot be classified as non-exempt, but both blue-collar and white-collar employees can be classified as non-exempt if they meet the salary and job duties criteria listed under the various FLSA exemptions. Employers that misclassify their employees may not be paying them the amount owed to them for overtime hours they work.

Misclassifying employees as independent contractors

Independent contractors are typically required to pay their own payroll taxes while employees have their payroll taxes paid by their employers. By misclassifying someone as an independent contractor, the employer may be avoiding paying their payroll taxes and other benefits.

Failing to pay minimum wage

The Illinois minimum wage is currently $11, which is higher than the Federal minimum wage of $7.25. Employees are entitled to whichever rate is higher, meaning that Illinois workers are entitled to $11/hour. Paying eligible Illinois employees less than $11/hour is a common form of wage theft.

Failing to pay for off-the-clock work

Requiring an employee to perform work before their shift begins or after their shift ends, or requiring them to work during their break/meal time without pay is another way employers commit wage theft.

Unlawful paycheck deductions

Employers may deduct certain costs from an employee’s check without authorization, which also may constitute as wage theft.

Failing to pay for all hours worked

While some employers do not pay the full amount owed to their workers, other employers may fail to pay their employees at all. Failing to give an employee their final check or failing to pay an employee for all hours worked is a form of wage theft.

If you feel that you are not being paid the amount you are entitled to at work, an employment law attorney in your area may be able to help you file a claim against your employer.