There are federal and state laws governing the minimum wage employers are required to pay. In every workplace, employers should display a poster or sign that notes what the minimum wage is and the provisions for overtime, breaks, tips and exemptions for students, farm labourers or workers under the age of 20, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That literature includes information for reporting violations. If that information is not posted at a work site and you suspect or are aware of a wage violation, the process should start with a call to your local Department of Labor office. Often, wage violations occur because the victims are immigrants who are unaware of their rights or in the country illegally and face arrest if they come into contact with a government agency.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Telephone directory
- Internet access
Familiarise yourself with the federal and state wage laws. The information is available on the posters that should be displayed in a workplace, or on websites for the federal or respective state Department of Labor. If you or the victim you are concerned about is employed as a waiter, for example, be clear on the provisions for tips and wages.
Gather as much evidence as possible. It could be your own pay stub--or lack of one, if the employer is trying to avoid paperwork. If possible, you should also have the names of the supervisors who might be aware of the wage violations as well as the name of the victim or victims.
Contact the Department of Labor office listed in your telephone directory and be prepared to tell them everything you know.
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Tips and warnings
- Some state labour departments allow you to search their websites for companies that have wage violations. The New York State Department of Labor's Non-Compliant Labor Standards Employer Search, for example, is searchable by business name, street address, zip code or type of industry. It provides the name of the violating business and what actions were taken to address and correct the problem.
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