Generally, no one is above the law. The NLRA (National Labor Relations Act) and other federal statutes protect workers from discrimination, hostile work environments, and other forms of unfair labor practices. Beyond that, there are local and state regulations that your employer must follow. For example, if you suspect your New Jersey employer violated wage laws, consult with an attorney who can help you file a New Jersey wage payment law claim.
Before you file a claim, it’s important to note that not all employment and workplace laws apply to every company. For example, some small and medium enterprises might be exempt from certain requirements. Also, managers might not have the same wage protections as temporary or hourly workers. State laws can vary too. Here are some of the ways your employer might be violating labor regulations, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
Prohibited questions on job applications
Some organizations violate the law long before they hire you. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces specific laws that prohibit many types of discrimination. That means employers should never use those elements or factors to make a hiring decision. Therefore, employers should ask about your exact age, religion, or marital status in a job application.
Failure to pay overtime
According to the FLSA, employers must pay all non-exempt workers overtime pay once they exceed 40 hours of work in a workweek. Note that each state may have other specific regulations regarding overtime pay. Therefore, get to know the specific regulations that you must adhere to. For example, Nevada, Alaska, and California require overtime pay for employees working for more than 8 hours a day.
Prohibiting you from discussing your wages with your colleagues
Your employer may insist that you and your colleagues cannot discuss your wages and benefits. This is illegal. According to the NLRA, all attempts to quash these conversations are illegal, as are attempts to prevent employees from unionizing and organizing.
Offering unpaid jobs to interns
Some companies want to attract interns with the promise of a paying job, especially at the end of the internship period. Unfortunately, these practices could have the organization running afoul of state and federal minimum wage laws.
Hiring you as an independent contractor, then treat you like an employee
One of the ways businesses cut corners and keep costs low is by hiring independent contractors. It allows them to avoid paying out all the benefits employees are entitled to, as well as some forms of employment taxes. Some business hire workers and classify them as independent contractors when they’re actually employees. Be sure to check your employment records to ensure that you are not classified as an independent contractor when you are an employee.
When your employer violates the law…
If you’re uncomfortable with your employee’s practices and suspect that they are breaking the law, report the issue to the HR department. It’s recommended to work these issues out internally. If this strategy fails, consult with an attorney. He or she can help you explore other options.