Unpaid Wages

Rob Wiley: My name is Rob Wiley and I'm going to be talking today to Austin employment lawyer Colin Walsh about the issue of unpaid wages. Let's say an employee goes to work and he works all week, he does the job he was supposed to do, payday comes around and there's no paycheck. What should that employee be doing?

Colin Walsh: Well, that employee should be suing his employer.

Rob Wiley: I agree. I'm not really sure that there's really all that much more to say about this subject. It's probably the most clear violation that you have, but we do see employees who for whatever reason aren't getting paid what they were promised to pay. We see it in terms of unpaid commissions, we see it in terms of an unpaid paycheck and this is an area where the common law, breach of contract, and certain federal laws as well protect employees. And then sometimes it's not in writing, sometimes somebody just gets told you're going to get paid this much for the job or this much by the hour. Even if there's nothing in writing can an employee still proceed?

Colin Walsh: Oh, absolutely. There are other causes of action that would protect an employee in situations like that.

Rob Wiley: I've heard the Texas Payday Law, what is that?

Colin Walsh: Well, the Texas Payday Law basically requires employees to be paid their paychecks.

Rob Wiley: There are also some federal laws out there that people may not know about, especially the Fair Labor Standards Act. What does that law have to say for people that may not be paid for the work that they did?

Colin Walsh: Well, the Fair Labor Standards Act protects minimum wage and overtime payments. So if you're working overtime you should be paid for that. If you're not getting paid the minimum wage then you should be paid the minimum wage.

Rob Wiley: So if an employer doesn't pay you for the work that you did, not only may they be in violation of breach of contract but they're probably also in violation of the minimum wage law. One of the things about minimum wages and overtime is that the penalty is that you get double what you were supposed to be paid.

Colin Walsh: Yes, that is correct.

Rob Wiley: If you're not being paid for the work that you do you should come in and you should talk to an employment lawyer.

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