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Ohio wage laws are designed to protect workers from predatory employers and make sure they are fully paid for the work they do. Still, wage theft remains a common phenomenon throughout the entire country, not just the state of Ohio.
The Economic Policy Institute reports that millions of minimum wage earners are underpaid every year. The amount of unpaid wages to these workers is estimated at a staggering $15 billion annually.
In this article, we take a look at three key signs that might indicate that you are being underpaid by your employer.
If you believe you are being underpaid, you should keep track of the number of hours you put in every week and compare it with your employer’s records. If there is a disparity, your employer is probably making you work off-the-clock and not paying you for those additional hours. It is a violation of Ohio wage laws as well as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
If you are exempt from receiving overtime pay based on your job title, but if your job duties are similar to that of a non-exempt worker, it might be a case of unintentional or deliberate misclassification by your employer.
Similarly, if you have been classified as an independent contractor, despite the fact that your job duties are similar to that of a regular employee, it might be a case of misclassification as well.
In both these cases, your employer can be held accountable for violating Ohio employment law.
Under the FLSA, your employer is allowed to make deductions for a meal break – as long as it is a bona fide meal period that lasts for a minimum of 30 minutes, during which you are relieved of all your work-related duties. If you are forced to work during your meal break, it does not count as a bona fide meal period and your employer cannot make a deduction. If they do, it is a violation of Ohio wage laws.
Similarly, under the FLSA, short breaks (which can last up to 20 minutes) are compensable, which means they must be added to your work hours. If your employer deducts short breaks from your work hours, it is a violation of the FLSA.
It should be noted that the FLSA – or Ohio employment law for that matter – does not state that employees must be allowed to take short breaks. If, however, your employer allows you to take short breaks, they cannot make any deductions from your salary for these breaks.
If you are a victim of wage theft in Ohio, the wage and hour attorneys at Scott & Winters can help you. Our firm has represented thousands of workers in Ohio and recovered millions in unpaid wages. Our in-depth understanding of federal and state labor laws and years of trial experience allows us to take up even the most complicated wage and hour violation cases and achieve the results that our clients want.