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USA Real Estate Blog

Think Your Boss Owes You Money? Ask Yourself These 10 Questions

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1. Do you get paid the same amount for overtime hours as regular hours?

If you’re an hourly worker and you’re paid “straight time” when you work over 40 hours in a week, that might be a problem. Do you receive “comp time” when you work extra hours? That’s only legal for state and local government employees.

2. Are you an independent contractor?

There’s nothing wrong with working as an independent contractor. However, sometimes companies will hire workers as independent contractors — with the intent of misclassifying them — to avoid providing them with benefits or overtime pay. This is not to say all independent contractors exist as such so their boss avoids paying benefits. Consider this more so if you’re an independent contractor performing the duties of a full-time worker.

3. Do you get paid a day rate?

A lot of industries decide to pay workers one flat rate every day, like courier companies. However, if you work more hours than the day rate stipulates, you should receive overtime pay. On the reverse, if you work fewer hours than your day rate stipulates, you should still receive the day rate, not an hourly rate.

4. If you’re a tipped worker, does your employer take tips from you? Do you tip out with back of house?

A tip pool is often legal and standard practice in restaurants, but there are times when it breaks the law. Simply put, bosses shouldn’t be getting your tips; you shouldn’t be sharing tips with the back of house staff; and you should take home at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 hourly when you factor in tips.

5. Do you pay to work/pay for lateness?

This is a problem many exotic dancers, more commonly known as strippers, face. Often dancers find themselves “paying for their place” on the stage or giving money to employers when they run late. These practices, among many others, are common forms of wage theft in the adult entertainment industry.

6. Are you an “exempt” employee? Do you have an “exemption” that doesn’t fit your job description?

Incorrect exemptions are another example of employee misclassification. Workers who are exempt from overtime should fit one of the five exemption categories listed here and mandated by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

7. Do you work for a company sub-contracted by a larger company?

Oftentimes smaller companies who perform work for larger companies (think a local delivery service that performs tasks for Amazon) misclassify their employees or don’t pay overtime when a worker paid on a day rate exceeds his hours.

8. Do you work “off the clock” or get hours rounded down?

Tasks you perform that are integral to your work — whether that’s answering email, making calls, cleaning tables, or preparing food — are tasks that must be paid. If you’re working “off the clock” at all, you’re likely owed wages. Similarly, any rounded-down wage hours indicate you’re underpaid.

9. Are you reimbursed for vehicle expenses if you’re a delivery driver?

As a delivery driver who uses your own vehicle, you should be compensated for vehicle expenses, including wear and tear, insurance, and mileage. When it comes to mileage, drivers should be reimbursed roughly 56 cents per mile.

10. Do you perform different roles at work and get paid the same for each?

Let’s say you’re a waitress and spend an hour of your shift every day working as a busser, washing dishes. However, bussers aren’t tipped employees, and waiters are. If you’re paid as a waitress while performing bussing duties, you’re owed the difference in pay.

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