Chicago Wage and Overtime Attorneys
Most employers try to abide by the book when it comes to employee pay, as they understand that any wrongdoing or mistakes can come back to haunt them. However, others are willing to take a chance by implementing unlawful time clock practices, not paying salaried employees overtime, misclassifying employees, and utilizing other tactics to decrease what they pay out in wages. Unfortunately, many workers do not fully understand their rights. If you want to ensure that you are fairly compensated for the work that you do, it is important that you understand wage and hour laws. At the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline, our Chicago wage and overtime attorneys are willing to review your case if you believe that you have one, but in the interim, you can explore the laws and determine if any of them apply to your case.
Minimum Wage Laws
Any employer in Illinois with four or more employees who are not family members must abide by Illinois minimum wage standards, which is $8.25 an hour. Employers with fewer than four employees can pay the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour. However, it is not unheard of for employers to try and get around that standard by doing one or more of the following:
- Putting Individuals on Salary: Many employers believe that once they put an employee on salary, that employee is no longer subject to the hourly minimum wage. If an employer puts a person on salary, he or she must still ensure that when the amount of hours worked is divided into the salary paid, the resulting number is still at or above minimum wage.
- Misclassifying Employees: Another way that employers try to get out of paying minimum wage or paying payroll taxes is to misclassify employees as independent contractors. However, the IRS and Department of Labor have a strict definition of “independent contractor,” and if a person falls outside of that definition, an employer may be forced to pay unpaid wages, back taxes, and fines and penalties.
- Paying Piece Rates: Though most employers reserve piece rates for independent contractors, some try to get away with paying employees for a certain amount of work performed. For instance, a painting company might try to pay an employee “per apartment painted” instead of by the hour. This is illegal, as all employees deserve minimum wage regardless of how long it takes them to perform a task.
In addition to not utilizing a fair or legal pay scale, many employers try to cut corners by denying employees overtime. Some ways in which employers avoid having to pay overtime include:
- Performing Work Outside of Shifts: Thanks to advanced technology, it is not uncommon for individuals to bring their work home with them. Unfortunately, this habit could put employers at risk of breaking overtime laws. Regardless of whether or not an employer requires a person to work off the clock, the employee is still responsible for overtime pay for all work performed off the clock and over 40 hours a week.
- Working Through Meal Breaks: In accordance with Illinois law, employees are entitled to a 20-minute unpaid meal break for every 7.5 hours worked. Some employers deduct for that time yet require employees to work through it, which is illegal.
- Working Overtime: Finally, some employers just do not pay overtime wages. According to federal law, employees are entitled to 1.5 times their wages for every hour worked beyond 40 hours in a week. Employers that do not pay the requisite overtime wages are in violation of the law.
Contact a Chicago Wage and Overtime Lawyer
You work hard to ensure that your employer is successful, and you like to think that he or she works hard to ensure that you are, too. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Many employers take advantage of their employees by implementing unfair wage and hour practices. If your employer is one of them, fight back by hiring a Chicago wage and overtime attorney. Call the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline today to schedule a free and private consultation.