Wage Theft Lawyer in Kansas City, MO
The law is very clear that employees should be paid what they’re worth. Sadly, many workers still do not make minimum wage. Employers have become quite creative at paying their employees as little as possible. Often, the means they use for doing this are illegal. The Fair Labor Standards Act, the Kansas Wage Payment Act, and the Missouri Minimum Wage Law protect employees from committing wage and hour violations.
The Fair Labor Standards Act guarantees covered employees minimum wage for the first 40 hours, plus time and a half for each hour of overtime. If you believe your employer has violated the FLSA, please contact us immediately.
In Kansas, employer-employee relationships are controlled by the Kansas Wage Payment Act. Under the Act, employers cannot refuse to pay their employees wages once they are earned. They cannot deduct wages once they are earned, either, unless you consent. If your employer may have violated the KWPA, please feel free to email or call our office any time.
In Missouri, the Missouri Minimum Wage Law protects covered workers from being paid less than minimum wage. It also requires employers to pay covered employees working more than 40 hours time and a half for each hour of overtime. Do not hesitate to set up a consultation, if you believe your employer may have violated the MMWL.
Phillip Murphy is very experienced in handling wage and hour cases and obtaining very favorable results for his clients.
What is Wage Theft?
Wage theft is a costly problem for both workers and employers. Workers who are not paid the wages they are owed are often forced into debt or rely on government assistance to support themselves, which negatively affects their financial security and well-being. Employers who commit wage theft can face serious fines and other penalties.
There are many different types of wage theft, but some of the most common include:
Minimum wage violations
Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage are committing wage theft. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, but some states have higher minimum wages. In Missouri, for example, the current minimum wage for most employees is $12.00 per hour. However, there are exceptions for tipped employees, some student workers, and other exempt occupations. Many employers attempt to use employees’ tips to contribute to minimum wage, but do so incorrectly. This is a very common source of wage theft.
Employers who do not pay non-salaried employees overtime for work beyond 40 hours per week are committing wage theft. Calculating overtime pay incorrectly can also qualify as wage theft.
Misclassification of Employees
Hourly employees are entitled to overtime pay, whereas salaried employees are not. Legally speaking, they are designated as non-exempt and exempt, respectively. Classifying a manager as an “exempt” employee simply to avoid paying overtime is wage theft.
Asking employees to work before or after their shift is a form of wage theft.
Meal break violations
Employers who do not provide employees with their legally required meal breaks are committing wage theft. The amount of time required for a meal break varies by state. In Missouri, meal breaks must be at least 20 minutes during a shift of at least 6 hours. In Kansas, the meal break must be at least 30 minutes long for employees working more than 6 hours in a day. Employers are not permitted to require employees to perform work-related activities during any break, without paying the employees for the time, at the employee’s regular hourly rate.
Employers who make illegal deductions from employees’ wages, such as for uniforms or tools, are committing wage theft.
Withholding an employee’s final paycheck and/or omitting unused vacation time is illegal.
Incorrect utilization of a tip pool is also wage theft. For example, it’s illegal for an employer to keep any portion of the tips or allow supervisors and managers to participate in the tip pool. Employers must also provide notice to all tipped employees that they intend to use the tip credit. If they fail to do so, they lose the credit, even if they paid the money.
Wage & Hour Cases We Handle
Often, we receive inquiries from concerned workers who believe they aren’t receiving fair compensation. Sadly, they’re often right. As a Kansas City employment lawyer, we’ve handled all sorts of wage and hour disputes. Whether you’re a W2 employee, an independent contractor, an undocumented worker, or an intern, wage theft is a crime. You deserve every dollar you’re entitled to, and if you haven’t been compensated fairly, Phillip Murphy II will help you collect.
Wage and Hour Violation Damages
While every instance of wage theft is unique, the damages most frequently awarded in successful wage and hour claims include the following:
- Back pay: The amount of money that an employee is owed for wages that were not paid is considered back pay. This may include overtime pay, minimum wage pay, and other types of unpaid wages.
- Liquidated damages: Additional damages may be awarded to an employee in an effort to punish the employer and deter future violations.
- Injunctive relief: In some cases, a court will order an employer to stop breaking wage laws.
- Other damages: Beyond back pay, an employee may be able to recover other damages, like emotional distress damages or punitive damages, although this is fairly uncommon.
How to Protect Yourself from Wage Theft
- Know your rights: Be familiar with the laws in your state regarding minimum wage, overtime, and other employment standards. Our law office is happy to assist with any wage theft claim, we can also advise you on the current state laws to help you better protect yourself in the future.
- Keep track of your hours: Keep a record of the hours you work, including the time you start and end your shifts, as well as any breaks you take. It is the employer’s responsibility to do this. So if the employer fails to account for your time, your own time records will likely be the most credible evidence of the time that you worked.
- Contact Phillip Murphy Law: If you are unsure about whether your employer is following the law, ask questions! We’re happy to review your specific situation if you feel your employer is illegally withholding your compensation.
- Stand up for yourself: If you believe that you have been the victim of wage theft, contact Phillip Murphy II, an experienced employment attorney who will fight for the compensation you’ve earned.
Contact an Award-Winning Wage and Hour Attorney Today
With a proven track record of success and millions in courtroom victories and negotiated settlements for our clients, the Law Office of Phillip Murphy II has become a top employment law firm in the Kansas City metro area.
We can take a deep dive into your work habits and pay to see whether or not you are being compensated for all that you do. Wage theft is a serious crime, and employers should not get away with treating their workers this way. Contact Phillip today for a free and confidential case consultation.