Please Note: As of October 2018, Andrew Kimble has formed Biller & Kimble, LLC with his partner Andy Biller to continue his employment law practice. For more information, please visit BillerKimble.com.
Minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour under federal law, and $8.15 per hour in the state of Ohio. With few exceptions, employees are entitled to full minimum wage, and time-and-a-half of full minimum wage for all hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek.There are a variety of ways your employer might violate the minimum wage requirement, other than simply paying a wage rate below minimum wage.
“Off the Clock” Work & Unlawful Deductions
Some employers pay an hourly rate that is at or above minimum wage, but still violate the law because they require employees to work “off the clock,” or because they take unlawful deductions from their employees’ pay.
For example, if you are paid $8.10 per hour – minimum wage in Ohio – for all compensated hours, but have to complete work “off the clock” (for which you are not compensated), your employer is violating the minimum wage laws. Compensable work time should include, for example, working through lunch and other breaks, having to complete certain tasks before clocking in or after clocking out, completing tasks from home, and the driving time from one jobsite to another. By not paying their employees for this time, employers have effectively paid less than minimum wage for all hours worked.
Additionally, your rights might be violated if you are required to pay certain expenses for the benefit of your employer, or have certain deductions taken from your pay that are not for your benefit. Examples of such potentially unlawful expenses and/or deductions include the cost of work uniforms, money for gas and other car expenses, chargebacks for mistakes or damaged equipment, charges for disciplinary violations, and many others.
Tipped Worker Wage Violations
Tipped workers are frequently denied proper wages, oftentimes simply because the rules surrounding their tipped worker pay are complex. Under certain circumstances, employers are allowed to pay them a reduced minimum wage rate as a “tip credit” to account for money received in tips from customers. In Ohio, minimum wage for tipped employees is $4.05 per hour.
However, in order for your employer to pay you at the “tip-credit” minimum wage, they must meet strict requirements. First, they must explicitly notify you of the tip credit they intend to take from your wages. Also, they must ensure that tipped workers are allowed to retain all of the tips they receive, and the tips are not shared with management, ownership, or “back of the house” employees. Furthermore, if you have to spend a significant amount of your work time in a non-tipped capacity (such as before or after a restaurant is open), your employer could be required to pay you at full minimum wage for all or a portion of your work hours.
Commissioned employees are entitled to minimum wage for periods during which they do not earn a commission. With some exceptions, commissioned employees are also entitled to time and a half overtime payments for hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek. Compensation owed to commissioned employees is often determined by reference to a written contract, so employees should review the terms of your commission agreement carefully before signing.
If you believe any of the above issues apply to your current or former employment, contact Andrew Kimble today for a free, confidential consultation, or fill out the form below.