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Wage Theft Attorneys in Madison & Milwaukee

Helping Wisconsin Employees Recover Lost and Unpaid Wages

Employers who do not pay their employees according to the law are engaging in wage theft by stealing money from their employees. Wage theft may be purposeful or accidental; either way, employers owe employees back wages when wage theft is discovered. We specialize in wage theft identification and recovery and can help you decide whether you have been robbed of your wages.

Typical Examples of Wage Theft

Wage theft can occur in many ways, but some situations are very common in the Wisconsin workplace. Take a look at the classic wage theft scenarios and see how they compare to your own story.

Wage Theft Example #1: Employers Avoid Paying Overtime by Calling Employees “Independent Contractors”

Many employees think they cannot get overtime pay because they are a 1099 employee or an independent contractor. Oftentimes, however, employees are illegally misclassified as independent contractors when they should not be. Under federal law, multiple factors are reviewed in determining if an individual is an employee or an independent contractor. These factors consider the extent to which the services rendered to the employer are an important part of the employer’s business, the permanency of the relationship, the individual’s investment in tools and equipment, the amount of control the employer exerts over the individual, and the individual’s opportunity for profit or loss. Construction workers, sub-contractors, landscape workers, and exotic dancers are often misclassified as an independent contractor under federal law.

Wage Theft Example #2: Employers Change Payroll Records to Avoid Paying Employees

Some employers resort to time shaving (changing employees’ start and end times) to pay employees for less than the full amount of time they worked. With a few clicks of the mouse, employers can modify electronic time records to make it appear an employee worked less time than he or she actually worked. Other employers simply pay the employee less time than what is recorded on the employee’s time card. Though the amount of time is usually small enough that an employee may not notice, over time the amount of unpaid work can really add up.

Wage Theft Example #3: Rounding Policies Can Shortchange Employees

Employers can legally round employee’s start and end times to the nearest tenth or quarter of an hour. However, when they do so, they must do so in a fair manner. An employer cannot always round an employee’s hours of work down – if an employee leaves work at 3:53 in the afternoon, the employee must be paid through 4:00.

Wage Theft Example # 4: Misclassification of Salaried Employees

Employees often think that because they are paid a salary, they are not entitled to overtime compensation. However, overtime pay exemptions include both a salary basis test and a duties test, so in addition to being paid a salary, an employee’s actual job duties must meet the narrow exemption. If an employee’s job duties do not meet the exemption’s test, a salaried employee would still be entitled to overtime pay.

For example, Bob is a full-time cashier at a grocery store and is paid a salary of $30,000/year. Bob has no management duties. Even though Bob is paid an annual salary, his job duties do not qualify him as exempt from overtime pay. Even though he makes an annual salary, his employer MUST pay him time and a half for every hour he works over forty hours in a workweek.

Hawks Quindel’s Attorneys will Fight Wage Theft on Your Behalf

If you think you have experienced wage theft under state or federal law, Hawks Quindel’s wage and hour team will provide you with a free case evaluation to answer your questions and evaluate your potential claim. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your wage rights under federal FLSA laws. In Madison, call (800) 610-0040 or (608) 257-0040. In Milwaukee, call (800) 236-3348 or (414) 271-8650, or send us an email.