Many start-up companies may look for creative but unlawful ways to spread out the meager capital they have. Managers and owners may not even realize what they are doing violates labor laws. Hourly employees are entitled to overtime pay and must be correctly classified as an employee or independent contractor.

If you are an hourly employee who believes your employer is shorting your wages, on purpose or innocently, there are remedies our attorneys can explore with you. Call the Feldman Legal Group to learn the mistakes to avoid in a Tampa wage and hour violation case. Let’s get you paid.

An Employee Should Clarify Duties

Most employees are entitled to be paid time and a half for any hours worked over 40. If an employee works 50 hours one week and 30 the next, employers cannot combine the hours and refuse to pay overtime.

Many employers make the mistake of classifying some workers as exempt from overtime. Salaried employees in high-level management positions are exempt from overtime pay, however under Title 29 Subtitle B Chapter V Subchapter A § 541.3 of the Fair Labor Standards Act, others are not exempt, including:

  • Manual laborers or other blue-collar workers who toil with their hands
  • Non-management employees in maintenance and assembly line work
  • Construction workers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, iron workers, and longshoremen
  • Any law enforcement officer whose primary job is to detect crime and assist others, parole or probation officers, firefighters, paramedics, park rangers, rescue workers, hazardous materials workers, and others, regardless of rank or pay level

Employees who establish they are not exempt from being paid overtime should not make the mistake of not consulting an attorney in Tampa at the Feldman Legal Group to initiate talks with an employer or a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division over the violation.

Employers vs. Independent Contractors

The difference between employees and independent contractors is a matter of who controls the work output. Independent contractors often work on a temporary project, control their work schedule, and set the price for the job, while employees are paid what is offered and work at the behest of the employer. Contractors often provide their own tools and are not subject to the benefits employees receive. They also pay their own taxes, including social security and federal income, which are not withheld by the company that contracts them like they are for employees.

When employers misclassify employees as independent contractors, some employees might not complain because they look at it as more money in their paychecks. They will find that accepting this arrangement can severely impact their Social Security payments come retirement.

Some attorneys avoid litigation for Tampa wage and hour violations and will often settle for less. Mitchell Feldman is not one of them. Employers who misclassify employees can be sued and compelled to pay back wages and payroll taxes.

Records are Evidence

Relying on an employer’s records when they are cutting corners is not reliable and is a mistake a person should avoid when pursuing a wage and hour violation case in Tampa. Employees should keep their own records that include dates, hours worked, amount of paychecks, overtime, or lack of it, and note any arrangements an employer tries to make, such as requiring a worker to stay late to finish a project, blaming the employee for not getting the work finished, and refusing to pay overtime because of it. It is also a good idea to ask an employer for a detailed, written job description to ensure there is no confusion about independent contractor status.

Act to Avoid Mistakes in a Tampa Wage and Hour Violation Cases

Labor law was established to ensure employees are treated fairly and paid the amount employers agree to pay. This includes overtime for non-exempt employees after 40 hours.

Employers cannot average two weeks’ work to make 80 hours, and they cannot negotiate comp time for overtime. Even if you agree, the employer is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. If you want to know what mistakes to avoid in a Tampa wage and hour violation case, call the Feldman Legal Group for guidance.