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Many people are surprised to hear that countless workers are not paid for all the wages they have actually earned. We are not talking about a mistake in processing payroll. We are referring to an actual form of fraud in many cases. According to the Economic Policy Institute, wage theft is a nationwide epidemic that costs American workers as much as $50 billion a year.

Wage theft occurs when employers do not pay workers according to the law. Examples of wage theft include paying less than minimum wage, not paying workers overtime, not allowing workers to take meal and rest breaks, requiring off-the-clock work, or taking workers’ tips.

There are many good employers out there that operate an honest business, provide jobs, and contribute to the economy. Unfortunately, however, there are some businesses that try to lower their labor costs by deliberately underpaying their employees in violation of labor laws. And many unsuspecting and honest employees believe that if they put in the hours they are required to work, they will get paid all the money and benefits they are due. Unfortunately, that is the not the case in the real world. 

If you are asked to come in 30 minutes early and start working to prove you are a good employee, you may not think it is a big deal. But as an hourly-paid, non-exempt employee, you must be paid for all your hours worked. And the hours do add up. For instance, if you are making $20/hour and you come in 30 minutes early every workday. That means you are putting in extra 2.5 hour per week which is 130 hours per year. At your overtime hourly rate of $30/hour, you should have earned $3,900 extra that year. This is just one example in which an employee is grossly underpaid. There are numerous other situations where wage underpayment or wage theft occur.

If you believe you are not being paid for all the hours you are working, then you should consult an experienced employment lawyer right away.