Texas Employment Law: 5 Common Illegal Wage Practices to Watch For

So, you just received your paycheck and it’s looking a little light. You thought you worked way more hours than that! And what are those deductions?

Far too many employers attempt to cut corners and cut costs by depriving their employees of the fair pay they are legally entitled to for the work they did. Illegal wage practices are pervasive, and it takes a vigilant eye to ensure you do not get taken advantage of by a neglectful or even malicious employer.

Below we’ve detailed five of the most common illegal wage practices employers use to save a buck or two at the expense of their employees.

1) Not paying minimum wage

The State of Texas adheres to the minimum wage requirements dictated by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of $7.25. You are entitled to receive at least that much for every hour you work, with practically no exceptions. Tipped workers such as waiters and waitresses are especially susceptible to underpayment, but if you do not make at least minimum wage in tips for the hours you worked, then your employer is still required to compensate you the difference.

2) Not paying overtime

If you worked over 40 hours in a week, the FLSA stipulates that your employer must pay you time and a half of your hourly wage for each extra hour you work. Most salaried employees are not entitled to overtime, but otherwise you should be getting the full amount of overtime pay for your extra work.

3) Making you work “off the clock”

Some employers will attempt to underpay wages by having you complete tasks “off the clock.” They may do this to keep you from going over 40 hours in a week, for which they would otherwise have to pay you overtime, or they may simply do it to justify paying you less. You are always entitled to be paid for the work you do. Never agree to complete tasks for your employer off the clock.

4) Misclassifying employees

Another common practice is employers misclassifying their employees as salaried in order to avoid having to pay them overtime, or misclassifying full or part time employees as independent contractors in order to avoid having to pay benefits. There are strict rules regulating how employees should be classified, so make sure your employment classification actually fits the work you do.

5) Deducting breaks

Neither federal law nor Texas law requires employers to provide lunch breaks or rest breaks to employees. However, if your employer does allow rest breaks, they are required by federal law to pay you for them. Furthermore, if you are allowed lunch breaks but you are required to work during your lunch break, your employer is required to pay you for that work. Many employers will attempt to unlawfully deduct break time from your paycheck. Make sure you are fairly paid for the work you do and the breaks you take when applicable.

Do not allow yourself to be victimized by illegal wage practices. Amsberry Law understands how hard you work to make a living, and we want to help make sure you get every penny you deserve. If you suspect illegal wage practices in your workplace, please give us a call and let’s talk.

Written by Amsberry Law Firm

Amsberry Law Firm

Mr. Amsberry is board-certified in family and labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also active in family law, estate and elder law, and business law. He is a proven litigator who has argued before the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and earned favorable outcomes in complex, precedent-setting employment and civil rights cases. He served as a reservist assistant judge advocate general in the U.S. Army and is a sought-after lecturer and speaker on a range of legal issues.