Can Federal Employees Sue for Unpaid Wages?
An honest day’s work deserves an honest day’s pay, and anything less is wrong—plain and simple. Recently, a restaurant owner in Austin, Texas failed to pay his employees after his business closed unexpectedly.
According to KVUE, an ABC affiliate in Austin, an ex-employee who was the event coordinator and floor manager for Simi Estiatorio, a now-closed local restaurant, claims that the owner of the restaurant left town without paying employees their full paychecks. The ex-employee has been forced to set up a GoFundMe for herself and other former employees who were not paid what they were owed.
The owner of Simi Estiatorio reportedly left town prior to the restaurant’s closure. The employees found out about the closure after the property management company that provided the restaurant with its location informed them that Simi Estiatorio was being evicted from its lease. Members of Simi Estiatorio’s management staff were able to recover some of the employees’ paychecks from the restaurant’s accountant. However, not everyone received a paycheck, and some received checks for less than the amount they were owed. In addition, some of the paychecks were hold checks that were to a closed account.
Per the report, so far, none of the kitchen staff has received a paycheck, and most of the front-of-house staff has not been paid. At the time this article was published, no one had heard back from the restaurant’s owner regarding the wage and hour violations his former employees are alleging he committed.
What Are Wage and Hour Violations?
While federal employees generally do not have to worry about the United States government going out of business, there are instances where they can be owed back pay as well. Wage violations are a problem within every industry, including the federal government. A few examples of wage and hour violations federal employees can face:
- Misclassifying an employee. This can involve classifying an employee as an independent contractor, which would prevent them from taking advantage of benefits and rights employees have, such as health insurance and overtime pay. This can also involve classifying an hourly employee (also known as a non-exempt employee) as a salaried employee (also known as an exempt employee), which can impact overtime eligibility.
- Failing to pay employees what they are owed. This is the most obvious example of a wage violation. It simply involves an employer not paying an employee their full paycheck or not paying them anything at all.
- Denying employees breaks. Depending on the details of an employee’s job, they may be allowed meal breaks and rest breaks throughout their shift. If the employee is being forced to work through their breaks, they may be owed back pay or overtime for working through them. In addition, they may be able to recover damages for being denied their breaks in the past.
Other wage and hour violations that employees may face include being denied overtime pay, benefits, bonuses, hazard pay, and reimbursements for work-related expenses.
What Can Federal Employees Do If They Are Owed Unpaid Wages?
If you are a federal employee and you believe that you have not been paid what you are owed because of a wage and hour violation, you should speak with an experienced federal employment lawyer right away. An employment attorney can examine your situation, determine if you have a claim, and guide you through the legal process of recovering your unpaid wages.
Need Help Recovering Unpaid Wages? Contact Our Experienced Employment Attorneys Today!
People depend on their paychecks to provide for themselves and their families. Their earnings literally put a roof over their heads and food on their tables. However, even if the money they earned from working was only used to cover frivolous things, it is still money they earned and are owed. That is why there is no excuse for employers failing to pay their employees wages they have earned.
At Pines Federal, our team of experienced employment attorneys have been protecting the rights of federal employees for two decades. Our firm exclusively handles issues involving federal employment law, such as federal workers’ compensation, disability retirement representation, EEO cases, veterans’ affairs, MSPB representation, and more. Our legal team represents employees of federal agencies throughout the United States.