Texas Wage Law Attorneys
Federal and Texas employment laws protect your right to be paid for the work you perform. These laws protect the timing and method of your paychecks, employment benefits, final paychecks, unemployment and payment for time and work. If your employer failed to pay your wages and benefits due in accordance with employment laws, you should talk to Texas employment lawyers right away.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Texas Minimum Wage Act requires employers to pay employees the federal minimum wage. Tipped employees may be paid less than minimum wage by their employer as long as they receive at least minimum wage with tips included. If your employer fails to pay you minimum wage you may have a claim against your employer for unpaid wages, attorney’s fees and other money damages.
Tipped employees often have unpaid wage claims under federal and state wage law. An employer may underpay tipped employees by taking the tip credit to pay employees $2.13 hourly while engaging in activities that invalidate their ability to take the tip credit. If the employer fails to pay minimum wage or takes tips that belong to workers, you should talk to Texas wage law attorneys right away.
The FLSA and Texas Minimum Wage Act require employers to pay 1.5 times your regular rate of pay for each hour you work over forty hours in a pay period unless you are exempt. Overtime pay can make up a significant amount of your compensation if you regularly work in excess of forty hour workweeks. Employers often commit wage theft by refusing to pay overtime wages you are due by illegally:
- Improperly reducing hours on your paycheck that you worked;
- Shifting time from one week to the next;
- Improperly classifying you as an independent contractor or overtime exempt;
- Undercalculating your regular rate of pay.
If you believe your employer has not paid all of your overtime pay due, you should talk to Texas overtime lawyers right away. Unpaid wage claims for overtime pay can recover your unpaid overtime pay, attorney’s fees and other money damages.
Unpaid wages, bonuses and commissions
In addition to overtime pay and minimum wage, the Texas employment laws establish requirements for the timing and method of payment of wages, bonuses, commissions and other forms of compensation. If your employer fails to pay compensation earned in the correct time and method, you may have claims under the Texas Payday Law, breach of contract claims and other claims. Your employer’s failure to pay compensation on time may also result in claims for violating minimum wage and overtime pay requirements under federal and Texas employment laws. If your employer failed to timely pay your compensation, you should talk to Texas unpaid wage lawyers about your rights.
Equal pay for women and men
You may also have a claim under the federal Equal Pay Act if your employer pays you less than employees of the opposite sex who perform substantially similar jobs. The Equal Pay Act prohibits sex discrimination in pay between men and women. Equal Pay Act claims apply not only to your wage or salary. The Equal Pay Act requires equality in other forms of compensation including:
- Bonuses and commission structures
- Merit review and raises
- Compensation tier placements
- Benefit plans
- Expense accounts
- Fringe benefits
Equal Pay Act claims can help you recover unpaid wages and other compensation that you would have received if you belonged to the opposite sex. You can also seek a court order to equalize your compensation going forward. These claims often accompany other claims for gender discrimination, so it is important to talk to an experienced employment attorney about your situation to make sure all of your claims are properly pursued.
As part of your compensation at work you may receive employee benefits in addition to pay. Employee benefits may include health insurance, 401k and other retirement savings plans, other forms of insurance, vacation and PTO, reimbursement plans and other fringe benefits. Some of these benefits are protected under the federal Employee Retirement Income Savings Act (ERISA). ERISA covers many health insurance and retirement plans in addition to some other benefits. ERISA sets high requirements for how employers (and unions) must operate these plans. They protect your rights and assets in these plans. When your employer operates ERISA plans improperly or for their own benefit you may have an ERISA claim against your employer. Additionally, some benefits are protected under other laws, such as the Texas Payday Law. If you believe your employer is messing with your benefits, you should talk to a Texas wage law attorney.
In Texas employees may receive unemployment benefits if they are fired through no fault of their own. If your employer laid you off or fired you without cause, you may be eligible to receive these benefits. The Texas unemployment system allows both employer and employee opportunities to appeal decisions about your benefit claim. Sometimes employer are dishonest in their defenses or simply do not understand your rights to unemployment benefits. It may be necessary for you to hire a Texas wage law attorney to represent you in an unemployment hearing. If your employer opposes your unemployment benefits claim, you should talk to a Texas wage law attorney.
You have the right under federal and Texas law to make good faith complaints about unpaid minimum wage, overtime pay and unequal pay between the sexes. You are protected when you make those complaints internally or to appropriate government agencies such as the Department of Labor or Texas Workforce Commission. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for making a good faith complaint. If you believe your employer retaliated against you for making a complaint, you should talk to a Texas wage law attorney right away. You may have a separate retaliation claim which will give you additional rights to pursue money damages in addition to any unpaid wages.
Class action lawsuits for unpaid wages
Often when an employer commits an illegal wage act it does not occur to just one employee. Typically entire groups of employees are negatively affected by the illegal employment act. That could be a scheme to commit wage theft by:
- Failing to pay minimum wage or overtime pay;
- Failing to administer a benefit plan as required by ERISA;
- Unequal pay for equal work between the sexes;
- Illegal tip pooling schemes;
- Misclassifying groups of employees as independent contractors or overtime exempt;
- Refusing to timely pay all compensation due.
When employers commit wage theft against groups of employees, those employees have the right to combine their cases into a class action lawsuit. A class action lawsuit allows the employees to bring one lawsuit for the same wage law violations and pursue them collectively. A class action lawsuit for wage and hour violations gives all of the employees greater strength in numbers than having to pursue each claim individually. Class action lawsuits can lead to quicker resolution of unpaid wage claims and larger settlements or verdicts. If you believe you and your coworkers suffer the same wage law violations, you should talk to a wage law attorney about your rights to bring a class action lawsuit.
Learn more about wage laws in Texas
Learn more about federal and Texas wage laws and how they protect your pay at work:
- What is a volunteer under Texas wage law?
- Are rideshare drivers employees?
- Texas law on vacation pay
- Does my employer have to give me breaks and lunches?
- Travel pay for traveling or remote employees in Texas
- Employer won’t pay your final paycheck?
- When can my employer deduct credit card fees from my tips?
- Texas Payday Law and your final paycheck
- Fluctuating work weeks and FLSA calculations
- Minimum wage in Dallas, Texas
- Do I have to be paid for being on call at work?
- Can I be forced to clock out and keep working?
- When must overtime be paid?
- FLSA and tipped employees
- What does it mean to be full time?
- What is an independent contractor?
Talk to a Texas wage law attorney
You deserve to be paid for all the work you perform in compliance with federal and Texas wage law and the terms of your employment. When your employer refuses to pay you what you are owed, it can have a real financial consequence on you and your family. You may be entitled to recover unpaid wages, attorney’s fees, liquidated damages, punitive damages and other sums from your employer. An experienced Texas wage law attorney can investigate your case and advise you of your rights to get paid what you deserve.