Any employee is owed compensation for any hours they work up until the time of their termination. If the employer does not pay the employee for those hours, they can file a claim for unpaid wages. If the employee’s claim is successful, the employer must pay all of their attorney’s fees and costs associated with filing the claim.
It is common for employers to not pay the wages due at the time of termination because employers feel that they have terminated an employee who will not be returning for their final pay or their final day of pay. However, if an employee is not paid for the work they performed, they need to file a claim for unpaid wages, make sure that the employer is held accountable, and ensure that the employer pays for the benefit that the employee has conferred upon them.
If your employment contract was terminated in Clearwater, contact one of our fair labor lawyers today to begin the process of ensuring that you are fairly compensated for the work you did and given the wages you deserve.
Common Myths and Misconceptions
Some people think that when a person is fired at the beginning of the day they should still be paid for that day, some think that they should still be paid for the last two-week period and that they are automatically owed their paid time off for vacation time. In reality, if an employment contract does not specifically state that an employee is due the paid time off or the vacation time they accrued, it is up to their employer to decide whether or not they want to pay the terminated employee that paid time off. If the employer decides not to, that is technically lawful according to the employment contract.
Additionally, employees only get paid at the time of termination for the hours that they actually worked. So, if an employee worked an entire day and they are fired at the end of that day, they should still be paid for that day. The employee would not be paid for a day if they were fired in the morning before they had performed any duties. An employee’s pay depends on the actual hours of work done upon the employee’s termination.
No employee is exempt from being paid wages for work that they performed. Even if someone makes a million dollars a year, if they are paid an hourly rate and they worked those hours, they should be paid for the hours that they worked.
If an individual has outstanding wages that were not paid by an employer and they can prove that, those wages should, and must, be paid. If the employer refuses to pay them, the employee should hire an attorney because the employer must pay all of the attorney’s fees and costs for the employee if they are successful in proving that they have outstanding wages that were not paid.
Obtaining Money an Employee is Owed
A Clearwater fair labor lawyer can file the appropriate documents and send the proper correspondence to notify the employer that their client is seeking unpaid wages. If the employer refuses to pay, they risk paying several attorney’s fees and costs at the end of the case if the employee is successful in their claim.
The sooner an employer pays the wages owed to the employee, the fewer attorney fees are accumulated by spending less time filing paperwork in court, deposing witnesses, and going through various administrative processes that are involved in bringing a case to trial.
For example, if an individual is owed $100,000 in commissions on their final check, they have the right to sue their employer for that money. The employer would then have to pay the individual that money plus all of the attorney’s fees and costs incurred.
If the person is an exempt employee, they may not have an unpaid overtime claim. Most likely, these people would have a degree that would make them an exempt employee under the FLSA. In the opposite scenario, if an individual works at a motel as a housekeeper, has worked 60 hours a week, but has never been paid more than 40 hours, they will have a claim for that extra 20 hours.
These are the two separate routes an individual can take depending on if an individual is an exempt employee or a non-exempt employee. Either way, if an individual is not paid wages that are owed to them, they can file a lawsuit for that.
What an Attorney Looks For
The attorney looks at the duties the employee performed and how they can prove that performance. One of the red flags is when an employer says that they worked for a month and the employer did not pay them for that significant of a period of time.
Many of the things to look for in an unpaid wage case is somebody who says they were fired but worked the entire day before being fired. In this situation, the employee’s pay stub only goes through the day before they were terminated. A fair labor lawyer can usually prove the day the employee was actually terminated because they were terminated at 5:30. They had worked the entire day and deserve to be paid for it.
If you have been terminated and are owed compensation from your former employer, contact our Clearwater fair labor standards lawyer today to begin seeking the wages that you deserve.