When should you call a minimum wage lawyer if you are an employee?
So, you think you have a minimum wage law issue, but you are unsure whether you should call a minimum wage lawyer. When is it time to call a wage and hour attorney?
1. When your employer breaks the minimum wage laws.
The most obvious time to call a minimum wage lawyer is when you suspect your employer is breaking minimum wage laws. A minimum wage lawyer can tell you what your rights are and how to handle the situation.
It is usually not a good idea to try to handle the situation on your own. First, you might be wrong about what the law is and what rights you have. Wage and hour law is very complicated with a lot of exceptions, exemptions, and hidden traps. Trying to resolve the situation without an expert could undercut your position. Second, an experienced wage and hour lawyer can advise you on how best to protect yourself from retaliation. Minimum wage laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act do have whistleblower protections, but you need to make sure you fall under those protections. That typically means addressing wage and hour violations in specific ways. A lawyer can tell you how.
2. When you are not sure if your employer is breaking minimum wage laws.
Maybe you’re just not sure whether your employer is breaking minimum wage laws. It is worth doing some of your own research on websites like this one or government websites like the Department of Labor’s site or the Ohio Department of Commerce’s website.
But, if you are unable to find a clear answer to your question, it is time to call a minimum wage expert. If the lawyer is experienced in wage and hour law, they will often know the answer to your question right away or, at the very least, know just where to find it. (Of course, sometimes, there is no clear answer.) Once you find out whether your employer is actually breaking wage and hour laws, you can proceed accordingly.
3. When you want to complain to your employer about possible minimum wage violations.
If you think your employer is breaking the law and you want to either complain directly to your employer, file a lawsuit, or complain to a government agency (like the Department of Labor or Ohio Department of Commerce), the you should talk to a lawyer before you do anything. Being a wage and hour whistleblower can give you protection from retaliation, but only if you do it in the right way.
A minimum wage lawyer can review your situation and advise you how to proceed. Sometimes this means having an attorney advise you behind the scenes. Sometimes it means having a lawyer directly handle the situation him or herself. Either way, you need to be careful so that you invoke all of the legal protections possible, especially if you are still working for your employer.