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Wage Theft & Unpaid Wages

Philadelphia Wage Theft Attorney Defending Your Rights

It’s a fundamental right that every employee be paid for all work performed for their employer. If you worked for it, you earned it, and you should be paid for your work. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. In 2019 the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division reported $322 million in unpaid wages.

Murphy Law Group has substantial experience representing employees or groups of employees who have been denied wages or overtime compensation.

  • Have you been denied overtime compensation?
  • Have you performed work before or after scheduled shifts without compensation?
  • Have you performed work during unpaid meal breaks and not been compensated?
  • Have you performed work off the clock and not been compensated?
  • Have you been misclassified?
  • Have you been denied a minimum wage?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, contact Murphy Law Group immediately for a free consultation. Please keep in mind your claim to wages is governed by an applicable statute of limitations so we encourage you to contact us immediately to ensure your claim is not forever barred.

How Murphy Law Group Recovers Unpaid Wages and Overtime Compensation

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division estimates that every day an average of $883,000 of unpaid work is performed. Unfortunately, low wage workers are more likely to be victims of wage theft. We work with employees to recover unpaid wages for the most common types of wage theft including:

  • Off the clock work
  • Work performed during unpaid breaks
  • Overtime disputes due to employee misclassification
  • Independent contractor misclassification claims

Off the Clock Work

Your boss keeps you late on the job—or asks you to work during your lunch break. You agree, expecting a nice bump in your paycheck. But when you get paid, it’s the same amount as always. What’s going on?

If you’re a non-exempt employee, it may be something illegal. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that non-exempt employees be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. The following are a few examples of situations when employees may perform work “off the clock” for an employer without compensation:

  • Arriving at work early to prepare for the day
  • Answering emails or phone calls at home
  • Time spent putting on a uniform or employer required equipment before and after scheduled shift
  • Time spent waiting to perform a task
  • Travel time

If you’re being asked to work “off the clock”—or outside your regular workday—without being appropriately compensated, that may be against FLSA rules. Our Philadelphia wage dispute attorneys can help determine if you have a claim.

Work Performed During Unpaid Breaks

Has your employer failed to pay you wages for work performed before or after your scheduled shifts or during unpaid meal breaks? Many employers provide unpaid meal breaks for employees during the work day.

In order for an employer to deduct pay during a scheduled shift for a meal break, an employee must receive an uninterrupted break. If your unpaid meal breaks are frequently interrupted you may have a claim for unpaid wages or overtime compensation.

Unpaid Overtime Due to Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Misclassification

Do you believe your employer has failed to pay you overtime compensation or misclassified you as “exempt” from overtime compensation? In general, employees are classified as either exempt or non-exempt for overtime purposes.

  • If an employee is classified as exempt, they are exempt from certain overtime requirements and are not entitled to overtime compensation.
  • If an employee is classified as non-exempt, they are entitled to overtime compensation for hours worked over forty (40) in a workweek.

The rights provided by the FLSA impact 135 million workers in both the private and public sectors. A common misconception is that all salaried employees are exempt from overtime and other FLSA protections. The reality is very few are exempt from these protections: all exemptions are narrowly defined by the FLSA.

Independent Contractor vs. Employee Misclassification Claims

Employees are also frequently misclassified as independent contractors. Employers commonly use the independent contractor classification to keep costs down. Independent contractors aren’t entitled to minimum wage, overtime compensation, unemployment and disability insurance, family leave, workers’ compensation, or sick leave.

In order to qualify for classification as an independent contractor the individual must:

  • Be free from control over the performance of the service provided;
  • Provide a service outside the usual course of business and places of business, or is customarily provided in an independent trade or occupation.

How We Build a Wage Theft and Unpaid Wages Case

If you are being wrongfully compensated, Murphy Law Group will fight for your earned wages. We build your case by enforcing these federal and local laws:

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act
  • Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law
  • Philadelphia Fair Workweek Law
  • New Jersey Wage & Hour Law
  • New Jersey Wage Payment Law

If you believe you are not properly being compensated according the law, contact our team of experienced employment lawyers who handle wage and hour claims to discuss your concerns.

Wage Protections Under The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”)

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes standards for minimum wages, overtime pay, and recordkeeping.

Under the FLSA employers are required to pay all non-exempt employees for all hours worked. Employers must also provide overtime pay of at least 1.5 times an employee’s regular pay when the employee works in excess of 40 hours per week.

If an employer misclassifies an employee, significant penalties can be assessed including back pay, liquidated damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.

Pennsylvania Wage Protections

In Pennsylvania, there are state statutes that govern the payment of wages to employees including, the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act and the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law.

Philadelphia Protections: The Fair Workweek Law

As of July 1, 2020, The Fair Workweek law requires covered Philadelphia employers to provide workers with a predictable work schedule. These rules apply to retail, hospitality, or food service establishments with 250 or more employees (including part-time, temporary, and full-time) and have 30 or more locations. Covered employers must:

  • Post schedules 10 days in advance
  • Provide predictability pay for all employer initiated changes to the posted schedule
  • Allow employees to decline additional hours outside the posted schedule

New Jersey Protections

In August of 2019, the State of New Jersey enacted the Wage Theft Law, a package of reforms designed to substantially enhance and add to the protections already enjoyed by New Jersey workers under the New Jersey Wage & Hour Law and New Jersey Wage Payment Law. Among these expanded protections are:

  • Increasing the statute of limitations from two (2) to six (6) years for unpaid overtime and minimum wage claims
  • Allowing for the recovery of liquidated damages (previously not available under NJ law) in the amount of two hundred percent (200%) of any unpaid wages owed
  • Strengthening and expanding the anti-retaliation protections provided under both statutes by criminalizing certain retaliatory conduct by employers, protecting employee discussions concerning wages and work hours, establishing a presumption of retaliation for adverse employment actions taken within ninety (90) days of the filing of a complaint in court or with the New Jersey Commissioner of Labor, and permitting the recovery of liquidated damages in retaliatory discharge cases.

How Murphy Law Group Recovers Unpaid Wages and Overtime Compensation

Not sure if your employer owes you wages? Think you might have worked unpaid hours?
We offer a free initial assessment and provide an honest assessment of your legal claims, which includes our evaluation of your likelihood of success, the potential costs associated with your legal claims, and explanation of all your available legal options.

Murphy Law Group has represented registered nurses, correctional officers, technicians, and other employee classifications in wage and hour disputes against both public and private employers. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients who have unlawfully been denied wages. We don’t get paid unless you do: no costs or fees unless we win.

Work with a Philadelphia Wage Dispute Attorney Dedicated to Fighting for Employees

Murphy Law Group represents residents of Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs, including residents of Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, Berks, Lancaster, Northampton, Lehigh, Lackawanna, and Luzerne Counties, residents located in central and western Pennsylvania, as well as individuals residing in New Jersey, who have potential unpaid wage claims. Murphy Law Group is dedicated to protecting the rights of Pennsylvania and New Jersey workers.

Contact Murphy Law Group for a free initial consultation by calling 267-273-1054.