Unpaid Wages or Overtime Violations

Did your employer fail to pay you all of your wages? Are you forced to work off the clock without pay? Are you paid overtime when you work over forty hours in a week? If you received tips, is your employer stealing from your tips or the tip pool?

Houston employment lawyers Robert J. Wiley, and Kalandra N. Wheeler sue employers for wage violations.

Wage Theft

An honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work is a Texas value. If you are not fairly paid for your job, you are being shortchanged. Another term for this is wage theft.

Examples of wage theft include:

  • A fast food restaurant promised a wage of $9.00 per hour, but the employee’s paycheck shows $8.50 per hour.
  • A contractor works sixty hours on a project but is only paid for forty hours of work.
  • A daycare center fails to honor the terms of an employment agreement, contract, or offer letter.
Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Houston, Texas is $7.25 per hour. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, your employer cannot pay you less than the minimum wage. There are several ways that a minimum wage violation can happen:

  • A convenience store pays a worker a day rate of $26 per day.
  • When payday comes, a construction company fails to pay its employees anything.
  • A worker is expected to work off the clock performing labor without recording the hours worked.

When an employee works over forty hours in a work week, the employer must pay “time-and-a-half” for each hour worked over forty. If an employee is paid $10 per hour and works 50 hours, she would be paid $400 for the first 40 hours and $150 for the final ten hours.

The most common violations of overtime law are:

  • A secretary is paid a salary instead of being paid by the hour. This is called misclassification. Unless you are an executive, have an advanced degree (like a lawyer or doctor), or conduct high-level company management, you must be paid by the hour. This is a common mistake that employers make.
  • A restaurant tells its workers to clock out and work for tips after forty hours. This is called working off the clock.
  • A factory automatically deducts meal time, but workers often work through lunch. This is stealing time.
Tipped Employees and Tip Pools

Many workers receive tips. Especially in the service industry (waiters, valets, bartenders, etc.), tips may be a majority of your take home pay. Tips belong to the employee who earned them. The following are blatant tip violations:

  • The cost of a walked tab was deducted from a waiter’s tips to cover the cost.
  • A restaurant charges a weekly breakage fee to waiters.
  • A Montrose bar forces its bartenders to cover cash register shortages.
  • A restaurant deducts an excessive fee when tips are left on a credit card.

Sometimes tipped employees share tips in a “tip pool.” Tip pools can only be used if the employer strictly follows the rules for who can share tips. Violations include:

  • A waiter is forced to share tips with kitchen staff. Tips can only be shared with employees who commonly receive tips, like other waiters or bartenders.
  • A bar forced bartenders to tip out to managers. Tips can never be taken by management or owners.
  • A waitress is forced to contribute 20% of her tips to a tip pool. The amount contributed to the tip pool must be reasonable. Usually this is not more than 15%.
Don’t Be a Victim

Don’t let yourself be a victim of wage theft. Our law office aggressively pursues underpaid and unpaid wages. We have brought numerous individual and class action cases to make sure workers receive the honest day’s pay they are entitled to. If you are a victim of wage theft, contact our law firm immediately.

Client Reviews
I consulted with Kalandra Wheeler. Great staff and team of attorney! They are committed to serving their clients!!!! I am always pleased with the outcome whether it's a consultation or representation. If you want the best. Then this is the team of attorneys and staff that can provide that higher level of service. L.H.W.
Ms. Wheeler was extremely knowledgeable, strong and confident. Exactly what someone would want in an attorney. C.M.