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Smaller Paycheck Than Normal? Here’s the Most Common Ways an Employer May Shortchange You Out of Your Wages.

Whether you were not paid minimum wage, did not receive overtime pay, or were not properly compensated for the work you performed, there’s a great deal of reasons why you may require the assistance of a Tampa wage and hour lawyer. Below, we’ve outlined three of the most common ways that employers shortchange their employees out of the wages they rightfully earned.

Related: What to Do if You Haven’t Been Paid the Wages You’ve Rightfully Earned

You Were Misclassified as Exempt

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, recordkeeping, youth employment, and overtime pay standards affecting employees in the private sector as well as Federal, State, and local governments. Under these standards, covered nonexempt employees are to receive overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for any hours worked over 40 hours of work in a workweek. However, Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA provides an exemption for overtime pay for any employees classified as bona fide executive, administrative, professional, or outside sales employees. 

In order to be considered exempt from the FLSA, the employee must receive a predetermined salary regardless of the number of hours they work and must perform exempt job duties. The employee’s primary job duties for each classification are summarized below: 

  • Executive Employee: The employee’s primary duty must be managing an enterprise or recognized department/subdivision within the enterprise. They must regularly direct the work of at least two full-time employees and have the authority to hire or fire other employees (or their suggestions are given priority). 
  • Administrative Employee: The employee’s primary duty must be performing office or non-manual work directed related to the general business operations or management of the employer or employer’s customers. They must also exercise discretion and independent judgment with respect to significant matters.
  • Professional Employee: The employee’s primary duty must be performing work that requires advanced knowledge in a field of science/learning. This advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of study. 
  • Outside Sales Employee: The employee’s primary duty must be making sales or obtaining orders for services, and the employee must be regularly engaged in performing their duty away from the employer’s place or places or business. 

Employees are wrongfully classified as exempt because their employer either does not understand the law or is purposefully trying to avoid paying overtime. In this case, one of our Tampa wage and hour attorneys can bring a wage claim on behalf of the employee for the overtime pay that they were wrongfully denied.

Related: 6 Excuses Employers Make For Violating Wage and Hour Laws

You Were Misclassified as an Independent Contractor

While FLSA requires employers to provide employees with overtime, no such requirement exists for independent contractors. These are individuals who work on a contract basis for other businesses, can be considered self-employed, and don’t meet the requirements of an employee under the overtime law. Whether or not you are an independent contractor in the eyes of the law is dependent upon your job duties and responsibilities.

To determine if an employee has been properly classified as an independent contractor, the federal government uses a multi-factor test that examines the following categories with regard to the employee:

  • Behavioral Control: A worker is considered an employee when their employer has a high level of control and instruction over the work they perform. These instructions may include when and how to do the work, what equipment to use, and where to purchase supplies and services.
  • Financial Control: A worker is considered an employee when their employer has a right to direct or control the financial aspects of their job, including reimbursed business expenses and method of payment. 
  • Relationship: A worker is considered an employee when their employer provides employee-type benefits and engages in an employer-employee relationship with them.

Classifying an employee as an independent contractor with no reasonable basis for doing so allows employers to avoid paying an employee overtime and providing them with the benefits they’ve earned. If you believe you have been misclassified as an independent contractor and cheated out of overtime wages or benefits, contact a Tampa wage and hour lawyer to see how we can help.

Related: 4 Ways to Protect Your Wage and Hour Rights

Your Tips Were Pooled With Non-Tipped Employees

Tipped employees are workers who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips. In certain businesses, such as restaurants, tip pooling or sharing is a common practice to ensure that all tipped employees are fairly compensated for their participation in the customer’s overall experience. Under no circumstances are non-tipped employees, such as the business owners or managers, to participate in the tip pool. This is because, should non-tipped employees wrongfully collect a portion of these tips, it may cause a tipped employee’s hourly pay to fall below the required minimum wage. Other illegal actions include counting service charges as tips, withholding tips past payday, enforcing deductions, or taking a larger tip credit for overtime wage hours. If you are a victim of any of these illegal actions, you need to contact a wage dispute lawyer in Tampa who has years of experience handling wage theft claims and can protect you in the event that you have been retaliated against after filing a wage and hour lawsuit.

If you would like to speak with an attorney regarding wage and hour violations in Florida, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.