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I make less than Minimum Wage – What do I do?

At Forester Haynie, we believe that Work Shouldn’t Suck. This includes being paid for the time and resources you put into work. If you have experienced wage theft, you can take action by filing a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office through our law firm.

What Kind of Information Do I Need to File a Claim?

Before filing a claim, you will need to gather information regarding your claim and employer.

  1. First, make sure you have the name, address of your company, and the name of your supervisor.
  2. Next, you need to identify if there are any other responsible parties, such as a supervisor or manager, who violated your rights as they sometimes can be held responsible.
  3. You need to make sure that you have a written log of the hours you worked, including what time you started work, what time you took breaks, and what time you left work for the day.
  4. If you were paid with a paycheck that bounced, provide a copy of the bounced check or other documentation from the bank that shows why the check was unable to be cashed.
  5. Collect all your pay stubs or a detailed wage statement.

How Do I File A Wage Claim?

You can submit your claim via email, mail, or in person. Each state has a Labor Commissioner Office that you should direct your claims to. You can log onto their website and download forms that you can fill out with all relevant information. These should be available in multiple languages.

What is a Settlement Agreement? What Should I Do If I Receive One?

A settlement officer is an official agreement to resolve the wage claim. This typically means that an employer will agree to pay a certain amount to resolve the claim. If you accept a settlement offer, this resolves the claim more quickly and you have a written agreement that your employer will pay you. However, if you receive a settlement offer that is less than the wages and penalties owed, you can try to negotiate for a more acceptable settlement amount. If you do not receive a settlement agreement or an agreement is not reached, your claim will be scheduled for a hearing.

What Should I Do If I am Scheduled for a Hearing?

The most important thing to do if you are scheduled for a hearing is to attend the hearing. If you do not attend, your case will be dismissed. However, if your employer does not attend the hearing, the official will decide the matter based on your evidence and testimony.

To prepare for the hearing, you should take a few steps:

  1. Review your claim information and evidence and make sure you have all documents necessary. Making a timeline for your employment history may be helpful, especially if your work schedule or hours changed.
  2. Print and prepare three copies of documents to submit as evidence for your claim. However, if you anticipate more than one defendant being there (for instance, the employer and your supervisor), you should prepare enough documents for each person to have a copy.
  3. If you have witnesses who can testify to support your claim, you can request personal subpoenas to compel witnesses to attend.
  4. In the course of the hearing, you will have the opportunity to ask questions of your employer and their witnesses. Before the hearing, take time to consider what the employer might say and how you might respond to their statements.

What Happens After the Hearing?

You should receive a decision within 15 days of the hearing. At that point, an order will be filed with the Labor Commissioner’s Office and then mailed to both you and your employer. You (as well as your employer) will have the opportunity to appeal the hearing. You must file the appeal within 15 days from the date on the certification of service by mail (or 20 days if the address is out of state). If neither side appeals, the decision will be final and enforceable as a court judgment.

If you or your employer proceed with an appeal, the case will move to a different court for review. At this time, you can continue to represent yourself or you may choose to hire an attorney. If your employer appeals, you will receive notice.

For further information about filing a wage claim, please seek legal advice from a practicing attorney in your area or utilize your Labor Commissioner’s Office website.

If you’re interested in filing a wage claim, contact us today.

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