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By Louise Herman

As an employee, you are likely working as a means to make a living wage. However, when your paychecks do not reflect the hours you’ve worked, you may not know what to do. As an employee, you have the right to receive the pay you are entitled to for the work you do. If you believe your employee is withholding your earnings, it’s essential to contact a Providence, Rhode Island wage & hour lawyer to help you get your unpaid wages.

How Do Employers Steal Wages?

There are a number of ways in which employers steal wages from their employees. Unfortunately, this includes misclassifying full-time employees as independent contractors as a means to avoid giving them benefits like health insurance or sick leave.

Similarly, if your employer does not pay you properly for overtime, such as working on a holiday or requiring you to work after normal hours off the clock, this is wage theft. Most legal holidays require employers to be paid for time and a half, or one and a half of their standard pay rate for the duties performed. If your employer does not pay you properly for the work you do, this constitutes wage theft. Similarly, your employer cannot force you to work through your lunch hour without pay.

Your employer must also pay you the minimum wage in Rhode Island, which as of 2023, is $13 per hour, excluding tipped workers. If you do not qualify as a tipped employee, you are entitled to the minimum wage for the hours you work.

Finally, if your employer withholds wages to cover the cost of uniforms, lodging, or meals, this is also a form of wage theft.

How Can I Hold an Employer Responsible for Unpaid Wages?

When your employer violates your rights as an employee, it’s essential to hold them responsible. Unfortunately, many workers fear approaching their boss because they worry about retaliation. It is not uncommon for employers to threaten demotion or termination of workers for raising concerns.

You should keep all paystubs and documentation of hours worked in case there are any discrepancies in your paycheck. If you notice inconsistencies, speaking to the Human Resources department may be able to resolve any issues.

If the issue cannot be resolved internally or you are retaliated against for raising concerns, you’ll want to contact an attorney as soon as possible. You should not have to suffer in silence because your attorney is more concerned with lining their own pocket instead of paying you the wages you deserve.

At the Herman Law Group, our dedicated legal team understands that you are entitled to compensation for the hours you’ve worked. As such, we will do everything possible to hold your employer responsible to help you receive justice. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

About the Author
At Herman Law Group, our focus is on safeguarding the rights and careers of employees and businesses alike. With over 35 years of successful legal practice, Louise A. Herman brings an invaluable dual perspective from representing both employees and employers. This unique insight allows us to effectively achieve successful outcomes for our clients in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and nationwide.