Workers expect employers to adhere to employment laws, including laws requiring them to pay the minimum wage. However, failing to pay the minimum wage and other types of wage theft are more common than you might realize. At Rob Wiley, P.C., our Dallas wage law attorneys represent employees who have not been paid the minimum wage or have otherwise been shorted on wages. If you believe that you were not paid appropriately, you should contact us.Understanding Minimum Wage Rules
Both federal and state laws provide for a minimum wage for non-exempt employees. Currently, in Texas, the minimum wage is the same as the federal minimum wage: $7.25/hr.
Aside from setting the minimum wage that must be paid, the Texas Minimum Wage Act has several provisions that affect non-exempt employees. It designates the Texas Workforce Commission as the agency responsible for providing information about state minimum wage requirements and establishes other requirements, such as requiring covered employers to provide an employee with a written earnings statement that includes specific information about his/her pay. It includes provisions about agricultural piece rate workers and exempts various employers from coverage.
There are other special provisions related to certain kinds of workers. For example, you should be aware that if you are a tipped worker, under the state law, employers can count tips toward the minimum wage. Furthermore, there are specific conditions under which an employer is allowed to pay less than the minimum wage to an employee who is a client or patient of the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, or to other people because of age or other impairments.
There are also some exemptions to the requirement that an employer pay minimum wage. One exemption from Texas law is for people covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). There are also exemptions for non-agricultural employers that do not need to make state unemployment contributions; inmates; domestics; employment in certain non-profit, charitable, educational, or religious organizations; and amusement and recreational establishments.Minimum Wage and Wage Theft Claims
There are multiple common wage violations. These include when a worker is not being paid the minimum wage, as well as when a worker is not being paid for all of the hours worked. There may also be violations in connection with tipped wages. Most tipped employees are paid $2.13/hr., but the minimum wage for tipped employees is $7.25, and the difference between $2.13 and $7.25 is a tip credit, as discussed further below. Sometimes there are violations in connection with commissions. If you are paid by commission, but the commission falls beneath the minimum wage for a workweek, there may be an actionable violation of the law.
If you do not get paid the minimum wage in Texas, our attorneys can help you bring a lawsuit to collect the unpaid wages, which are the difference between your actual hourly rate and the minimum wage, multiplied by the hours that you worked. You have two years from the date wages were due to you to recover the unpaid wages.Tip Credits for Minimum Wage Tipped Employees
Texas employers are allowed to take a tip credit for tipped employees, such as restaurant servers and bartenders. The minimum wage is $7.25, but most tipped employees are paid $2.13 per hour. This is legal as long as the tips received make up for the shortfall. Other guidelines must also be followed, and when they are not followed, the employer is not allowed to take advantage of the tip credit and must pay you $7.25 per hour for all of the hours that you worked, even though you are a tipped employee.Retain a Skillful Wage Law Attorney in Dallas
If you suspect that you are not being paid the minimum wage, or your employer is otherwise committing wage theft, you should discuss your situation with an experienced lawyer. Rob Wiley, P.C. represents clients in Dallas, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, Rockwall, and Ellis Counties. Call us at (214) 528-6500 or complete our online form.