Archive for the ‘Wage Claim’ Category
Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
Under state law, (RSA 275:48) an employer’s ability to lawfully withhold a portion of an employee’s wages is limited to specific circumstances. For example, an employer cannot even withhold for an accidental overpayment of wages unless the employee voluntarily agrees and the agreement is in writing. The statute sets forth the terms and limitations of such an agreement.
In a recent case before the N.H. Department of Labor, an employee had $4,763 deducted from his final two paychecks for prepaid bonuses that the company claimed he was not eligible to receive. Because there was no written agreement regarding the withholding of those wages, the DOL determined that the deductions from the employee’s pay was illegal.
If your employer is not properly paying you or if your wages are being tampered with, please call us to see if you have a case because we represent employees, not employers. Call 1-800-240-1988 or fill out our Contact Form online.
Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
A waitress waited on tables during the week but when she asked to pick up extra shifts on the weekend she agreed to work only for tips until business picked up. After she worked for several hours over weekends she filed a wage claim for unpaid compensation. The New Hampshire Department of Labor hearing officer held that despite the oral agreement that she was only working for tips, the employer was not relieved of its obligation to pay an hourly wage. The waitress was awarded almost $4,000 for the weekends she worked over the year.
Because the employer had not kept accurate employee records it was not able to reduce the amount she claimed she was owed. Employees should get whatever their compensation understandings are in writing. Otherwise, you can end up hoping that you win a Department of Labor hearing. Of course, the employer has the duty to reduce the deal to writing and keep accurate records, though many small employers don’t do that.
Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
As a technician for a heating company providing on-site maintenance and service, the employee was required to travel. Because he was an hourly employee he used a time card and at the end of each work day had to return to the home base of the operation to punch out. The employer and an employee had an oral side agreement that the employee would not be paid for travel time from his last service stop to the employer’s residence which was where the company was located. After the employee filed an unpaid overtime claim he obtained almost $15,000 from the Department of Labor
. The employee’s records indicated he was owed approximately a half hour’s pay for each day involved but because the employer could not produce better records, the estimate by the employee was adopted as the proper measure of unpaid wages. Once again, oral side deals can get an employer into trouble.
Saturday, May 21st, 2011
The New Hampshire Department of Labor (“DOL”) has regulations which protect hourly workers and require that employers pay you in a timely way. The regulations require your employer to pay all wages due within 8 days, including Sundays, after the expiration of the workweek on regular paydays designated in advance. Employers may pay workers less frequently, but have to meet specific DOL requirements. In this day and age, many people have been discharged by work. If that happens, under New Hampshire law, your employer must pay all wages owed within 72 hours either by physically giving payment to the employee or by mailing the payment to the employee, at the employee’s choice.
If you quit work, the employer must pay you in full no later than the next regular payday, or within 72 hours if you are not allowed to work after you tell your employer that you quit. Every employer shall pay without condition and within the required time frames all wages or parts thereof that are due. The employer must pay wages based upon recorded hours and in accordance with written or verbal agreements between you and your employer.
Wage and hour laws and regulations can be complicated but exist to protect employees. If your employer makes a mistake or willfully withholds wages based upon commissions or hourly work, you may have the right to bring a wage claim before the Department of Labor. The process is relatively quick, but an experienced employer lawyer can maximize your chances of recovering wages or commissions that are owed to you. If the DOL finds that wages have willfully been withheld, and the employer had the ability to pay those wages/commissions, you may be able to recover double damages. The lawyers at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey regularly practice before the New Hampshire Department of Labor and are available to help you recover the wages/commissions that you deserve. Call our office at 1-800-240-1988 or fill out our contact form online.
Saturday, April 30th, 2011
If you are the employee who is making a complaint about unlawful discrimination or blowing the whistle on some other form of unlawful activity at the workplace, the law protects you from retaliation from your employer. However, what protection do you have if you are a witness involved in a formal investigation, or even a lawsuit?
Legally, you are generally just as protected when acting as a witness, as you would be if you were the person making the complaint. An employer cannot legally retaliate against a employee who tells the truth in an investigation or lawsuit. The protection against retaliation can be sometimes be found in statutory laws (that is, the formal legal codes enacted by your state or federal legislatures), or in the common law (the law derived from cases decided by judges). The protective measures found in legislative enactments are often part of the specific statutory scheme that an employee might rely on to make a complaint about unlawful activity. For instance, the sexual harassment laws contain specific anti-retaliation provisions that can be interpreted to apply to both a complaining employee and supporting witnesses.
If not by statute, you are protected by a claim of wrongful termination. That means that if an employer retaliates against you for cooperating with a complainant or investigator in regards to a complaint of unlawful activity, and the retaliation leads to a termination, or creates work conditions so harsh that they effectively force you to quit, you may be in a position to file your own lawsuit.
In the case you are a witness to is being investigated by a government agency, they often have the power to fine or otherwise punish an employer for retaliating against you, even in situations that are less severe than a full-blown wrongful termination or constructive discharge case. If you are retaliated against in any way, or even threatened with retaliation, you should advise the investigator or even contact an attorney.
Why should you consider engaging an attorney if you are protected from retaliation under the law? Despite the protections against retaliation, employers sometimes ignore their obligations. As noted above, the stakes in employment cases can be very high for employers and employees. An employer unscrupulous enough to break the law that led to the underlying complaint may have no hesitation when it comes to retaliating against you for helping the complainant by offering truthful information.
If you believe you are likely to be a witness in a co-worker’s employment lawsuit, and are worried about being retaliated against by your employer if you tell the truth about what happened, you should not hesitate to contact a reputable employment law firm. Because Douglas, Leonard & Garvey focuses its practice on representing employees, we can help protect you if you find yourself in this situation. Call us for a consultation or fill out our contact form.
Thursday, February 10th, 2011
With the recent employment situation some unemployed people are willing to do an observation period by working for free for a company to see if the fit will work and a paid job would open up. Recently, the New Hampshire Department of Labor had a wage claim by a woman who worked for 63.5 hours at a hair salon during her observation period. She volunteered her time, but when she ultimately was unable to get a job she filed a wage claim for minimum wages that were never paid. The Department of Labor ruled in favor of the employee and said that the employee had clearly been permitted to engage in work and therefore, was entitled to receive the minimum wage rate for the hours she claimed to have worked. Another case, involving a landscape company, had a similar result where the owner’s girlfriend worked several hours a week to help out. Thus, taking on an unpaid helper may result in their getting paid after all.
Wednesday, October 20th, 2010
An employee’s entitlement to unpaid commissions after employment ends is a major source of confusion. This confusion is illustrated by a recent case decided by the New Hampshire Department of Labor.
In this case, a salesman worked for a weekly salary plus certain commissions in the form of incentive bonuses provided his sales exceeded certain sales goals. During his employment, he worked on a number of sales and orders that weren’t completed and paid at the time he was terminated from his employment. Those sales and orders were eventually completed and paid by the customers generating sales numbers that would have put him substantially over the goal that triggered payment of incentive bonuses. The salesman filed a wage claim with the New Hampshire Department of Labor seeking more than $50,000 in unpaid commissions. The employer claimed that no commission was due because substantial additional work had to be done by others. The Department of Labor ruled that a person employed on a commission to solicit sales orders is entitled to his commission when the order is accepted by the employer.
New Hampshire follows the “general rule” on payment of commissions:
“[A] person employed on a commission basis to solicit sales orders is entitled to his commission when the order is accepted by his employer. The entitlement to commissions is not affected by the fact that payment for those orders may be delayed until after they have been shipped. This general rule may be altered by a written agreement by the parties or by the conduct of the parties which clearly demonstrates a different compensation scheme.”
In the above case, because there was nothing in writing to depart from this general rule that would have required him to be employed on the date the orders were completed and paid to receive the commissions, the Department ruled he was entitled to commissions. If you have a similar issue or any type of wage claim, please feel free to call us because we represent employees like you.
Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
In New Hampshire, an employer is required to inform employees in writing the rate of pay. Any change in rate of pay – such as a reduction – must be in writing.
A recent wage claim at the New Hampshire Department of Labor illustrates this requirement. A manager was employed at a business and had an annual salary of $115,000. He received his salary on a regular basis until September of 2009. At that time the employer said they were having problems making payroll and asked the manager to accept a temporary delay in the payment of his wages. The manager worked for four more months but never received the salary payments. He filed a wage claim with the New Hampshire Department of Labor and the employer came in and claimed that they had told the manager his salary was being cut, not just being delayed. The Department of Labor ruled in favor of the manager awarding him $32,500 in unpaid salary.
New Hampshire statutes require that if pay is to be reduced it must be done in writing and that had never occurred in this situation. If you have a possible dispute with your employer over wages, please give us a call because we represent employees like you.