Financially, most families have very little margin for error. About a third of Cook County families cannot pay cash for a $400 emergency expense. Roughly two-thirds of Americans have less than $1,000 in a savings account. So, your household probably needs every penny of every paycheck. A slight shortfall might be financially devastating.
If you have a pay disagreement with your employer, you need a tough Chicago wage dispute attorney like Mitchell Kline on your side. Employers like to claim that wage laws are vague and subject to different interpretations, but typically, that is not the case. Without an attorney to speak for you, you may be at the mercy of an employer and its posse of lawyers.
If employers shave a few dollars off everyone’s check, the illegal savings are significant. So, paycheck shorting is common. Frequently, employers hope that shorted employees will not speak up over a few dollars. But as mentioned, in most cases, every dollar counts.
Many employers require workers to wait in long security lines or require them to wear special clothing which cannot leave the premises. Legally, the time workers spend doing these things fall under the donning and doffing doctrine. There is usually nothing wrong with rules like these. However, in most cases, employees must be paid for the time they spend waiting in lines or changing clothes.
On a similar note, employers generally cannot deduct money from paychecks without the employee’s written permission.
If your paycheck was short, the same thing probably happened to your co-workers. So, a wage dispute attorney in Chicago can help you file a class action claim. There is strength in numbers. Instead of many piecemeal claims, the employer must face one giant claim that has a top-shelf attorney at the wheel.
Typically, only employees are entitled to benefits, such as subsidized health insurance, and overtime wages. Therefore, some employers intentionally misclassify their workers as something other than employees. Some examples include:
This area of the law is one of the few subjective areas of employment law. There is no precise definition of an “employee” as opposed to another classification, but guidance is available. For example, the Department of Labor’s Fact Sheet 71 lays out a seven-point test that distinguishes between regular employees and unpaid interns.
The law is becoming even more worker-friendly on this point. So, a Chicago wage dispute attorney is often able to resolve such claims with just a simple demand letter.
As mentioned, employees are eligible for time-and-a-half in some situations, unless they fall under one of a few narrow exemptions, such as:
Other exemptions include the computer professional and outside sales exemptions. None of these exemptions apply to individuals who earn less than $35,000 per year. Additionally, all blue-collar workers and first responders are entitled to overtime, regardless of their duties or salaries.
For most Cook County families, any wage dispute is a very serious matter. For a free consultation with an experienced wage dispute attorney in Chicago, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline. We do not charge upfront legal fees in most of these situations.