Plumbers, pay attention! Many plumbers are not aware that they have rights! One or more of the situations below may apply to you. If so, there is a good chance that there is something you can do about it! Otherwise, there may be something getting screwed other than your pipe fittings.
YOU AREN’T GETTING PAID FOR TRAVEL TIME
There is not usually a requirement for a commute to work (or to your first job, if you don’t stop by the office) to be paid. However, once you move on from wherever you start your day, travel time between jobs usually should be. Generally speaking, if you show up to work at the company facility first and then go to your jobs from there, the clock starts from the time you arrive at work and stops when you clock out for the day there. If you go from home directly to your first work site, then the clock starts when you arrive at the first job.
YOU’RE WORKING MORE THAN 40 HOURS, BUT AREN’T PAID OVERTIME
If you work more than 40 hours a week, the law requires the company to pay you time and a half. Period. This is true even if you are inefficient or do a bad job – if you work the hours; you have to be paid for them. (Sure, they can “write you up” or even terminate you if you’re not living up to the company’s performance expectations, but it is illegal to retaliate against you for insisting on your overtime!)
YOU ARE PAID YOUR REGULAR HOURLY RATE FOR OVERTIME WORK YOU DO
Again, if you work more than 40 hours a week, the law requires the company to pay you time and a half, which means you should be getting 1.5 hours of pay for each hour over 40 you work. This is true even if you agreed to it at the time, or even if you signed something saying that “straight time” pay is ok. The law is the law, and it’s the company’s responsibility to follow it.
THE COMPANY IS DEDUCTING BREAKS THAT YOU DIDN’T TAKE
Do your time logs show automatic deductions of a half hour or an hour for lunch, but you are generally working straight through? There is nothing inherently wrong with your employer automatically deducting 30 minutes or an hour for your lunch break – unless you don’t actually get to take it. If the employer knows or should know you don’t get to take this break, they can’t deduct the pay. When there is a policy requiring you to report your meal breaks, it is your responsibility to report accurately, but the company still has to pay based on your actual time worked.
YOUR PAYCHECK IS “ROUNDED DOWN”
If you are working from 7:30 to 5:15 but your supervisor is logging it as 8 to 5 (or worse yet, just “8.5 hours”), you are getting cheated. If one day you arrive at 8:05 and the next you’re there at 7:55 and both days he logs it as 8:00, that kind of rounding generally is permitted, but not when it robs you of actual time worked. It is a good idea to keep track of your own time – in your cell phone, written on a pocket calendar, or anywhere to ensure your pay accurately reflects the time you are working.
THE COMPANY PAYS YOU FOR “SHIFT HOURS” – NOT HOURS ACTUALLY WORKED
If your shift hours are 8:00 to 5:00 but you actually work from 7:48 to 5:18, you should be documenting the actual time worked on all timesheets. The law requires that companies keep accurate time logs. If you and all your co-workers testify that the supervisor required you to write down the exact same in and out times each day rather than your actual time worked, the judge is going to be suspicious.
YOU LOSE PAY BECAUSE OF “RULE INFRACTIONS”
If you forget to wear your ID badge, or you talk back to your supervisor, or you lose or damage a tool, you can be written up or disciplined for that – maybe even fired. If, however your employer attempts to dock your pay, this is not an allowable punishment. If you are 15 minutes late for work, then 15 minutes should be removed from your timesheet – but they can’t dock an hour for it.
YOU ARE REQUIRED TO “PREP” FOR WORK, BUT ARE NOT PAID FOR IT
In the morning, do you have to pick supplies from the warehouse, load up your truck, attend meetings, receive instructions about the day’s jobs or complete any other ‘prep’ activities? If you are not paid for this time, you are being cheated. Similarly, at the end of the day, do you have to complete paperwork, unload supplies from your vehicle, clean up, fill out reports, etc.? That is all compensable work time. If the company doesn’t pay you, you’re being cheated.
If you suspect that you are a victim of any of these common types of wage fraud, make sure you reach out to an attorney to review your case. We offer free, confidential consultations so please give us a call today.