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Overtime and Unpaid Wages

Chicago Overtime & Unpaid Wages Lawyer

If you are working for an organization, either as a salaried or hourly worker, you should know your rights under the state and federal labor laws. You may also be misclassified as an independent contractor when you are really an employee, which can impact your rights in the workplace.

Your employer is obligated under state law to pay you your earned wages, bonuses, and commissions during your employment. This obligation does not stop after your employment ends, your employer is obligated under state law to pay you your “final compensation” including your last paycheck, earned but unused vacation, and any earned bonuses or commissions.

Under the laws of most states, employees are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their hourly rate when working more than 40 hours per week. Employees are also entitled to meals and rest breaks and must be properly paid for attending meetings and other off-the-clock tasks required by their employer.

In addition, employers sometimes improperly classify their employees as exempt, by calling them “managers” or “independent contractors,” to prevent those employees from receiving the benefits and overtime to which they are entitled. For instance, an employee who is classified as a “manager” but is required to do non-managerial tasks may be entitled to unpaid overtime.

Employers are required to pay employees at least the minimum wage for every hour worked, even if the employee is willing to work for less. There is a federal minimum wage, but some states, like California, have a higher minimum wage.

Other common violations of workers’ rights include unlawful deductions from paychecks, failing to reimburse for business expenses, and failing to keep accurate payroll and timekeeping records.

Misclassifying Workers In The Gig Economy

Companies operating in the “gig economy,” like Uber, often misclassify their workers as independent contractors when they are really employees. Companies save money when they misclassify employees, since they don’t have to pay independent contractors overtime, or provide meal/rest breaks. In at least one case, the California Labor Commissioner held that an Uber driver was actually an employee and was entitled to overtime, mileage reimbursement and other expenses.

Seeking Help

If your employer has misclassified you, is denying you breaks, forcing you to dedicate time to work-related matters off-the-clock, or failing to pay you time-and-a-half when you have worked more than 40 hours a week, you may be entitled to back pay and other legal remedies. It is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible, as there is a limited amount of time to pursue a lawsuit. To discuss violations or to request more information, please call or fill out the form. We offer free and confidential consultations.

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