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By Louise Herman

A fundamental aspect of working for an employer is receiving a paycheck. Without pay, you are simply doing volunteer work. However, employers sometimes withhold either full or partial payment from their employees without legal justification. If your employer has withheld payments from you, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses. Whether your paychecks don’t reflect the hours you’ve worked or you’ve been outright denied payment for the work you’ve performed, you are entitled to receive the compensation you’ve earned. In this article, we explain what to do when your employer doesn’t pay you.  

Ways That Employers Steal Wages

There are a number of ways that employers steal wages from their employees. For example, employers sometimes misclassify full-time employees as independent contractors to avoid having to provide them with certain benefits. Employers also sometimes fail to properly compensate their employees for overtime work, such as work during the holidays or after normal business hours. Another form of wage theft occurs when employers force their employees to work through their lunch hour without pay. In addition, with the exception of tipped employees, employers in Rhode Island are required to pay their employees the minimum wage required by the state. Finally, withholding an employee’s wages to cover the costs of meals, uniforms, or lodging is a form of wage theft. 

Holding an Employer Responsible for Unpaid Wages

If your employer has withheld wages from you, it’s important that you take steps to hold them accountable for your losses. Unfortunately, however, many workers whose wages are withheld are reluctant to seek recourse due to a fear of retaliation. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for employers to threaten termination or demotion when workers raise concerns regarding wage theft. Retaliation, in addition to wage theft, is illegal, and legal steps may be taken to hold the responsible party accountable. 

If you believe your employer has improperly withheld your wages, you should first keep all paystubs and documentation of the hours you worked in case your paycheck contains discrepancies. If you notice inconsistencies between your paycheck and hours worked, you should contact human resources. 

If you are unable to resolve your pay issue internally, or you face retaliation for raising your concerns, you should contact an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible.  Taking immediate action is the best way to ensure that your issue is addressed as quickly as possible. 

Contact Our Experienced Rhode Island Employment Law Attorney

If you are a victim of wage theft or another illegal or unethical employment practice, it’s imperative that you speak with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible. When you contact the Herman Law Group for assistance, we will guide you through the complexities of your legal case, taking the steps necessary to resolve your situation. Our experienced lawyers understand the challenges you face and are passionate about achieving the best outcomes for our clients. Please contact us as soon as possible to arrange an initial consultation with one of our talented employment lawyers.

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.