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Wage Claim Retaliation: When You’re Fired for Reporting Unpaid Wages

December 13, 2019 Wage Theft & Unpaid Wages

It’s More Common Than You’d Think

The Fair Labor Standards Act dictates that non-exempt workers are entitled to make minimum wage, plus overtime for more than 40 hours worked in a week.

There are clear definitions of what constitutes “work”—and how employers should calculate each worker’s pay.

Even so, wage violations are more common than they should be. In 2019 alone, the Department of Labor collected a whopping $322 million in owed wages for underpaid workers.

A few examples of wage violations include:

  • Paying you less overtime than you’re owed
  • Not paying overtime at all
  • Taking illegal deductions out of your paycheck
  • Paying you less than the minimum wage
  • Stealing your tips

If your employer hasn’t been paying you what you’re owed, you’re entitled to file a report. There are several ways to do this, including:

  • Filing an internal complaint with your company
  • Filing an administrative wage claim with the US Department of Labor
  • Bringing a lawsuit against your employer for FLSA violations

You have the right to do any of these things, without suffering negative consequences to your career. But what happens when you act according to your rights—and get punished by your employer as a result?

Retaliation for Reporting Wage Violations

Retaliation is the most commonly reported violation according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“Retaliation” is defined as any action your employer takes to negatively impact your work situation for filing a claim for wage violations—or any other violations under the FLSA. Some examples of retaliation include:

  • Demoting you
  • Reducing your pay
  • Wreaking havoc with your work schedule
  • Firing you for filing a claim
  • Giving you a bad performance evaluation
  • Taking disciplinary action against you
  • Verbal or physical harassment

These examples may be considered acts of retaliation if they are done in direct response to the action you took to report wage violations.

What to Do About Workplace Retaliation

It’s against the law for your employer to take negative actions against you for filing a report about unpaid wages. But it’s not always easy to prove cause and effect.

That’s where a knowledgeable employment lawyer comes in. Your lawyer can help you assess the situation, determine the extent of the violation, and prove your case in court.

Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today.The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.