Most jobs fall into one of two categories: those that pay a salary and those that pay an hourly wage. Hourly workers are supposed to be paid a set wage for every hour they work, and in most cases are entitled to a higher wage when they work over forty hours in a work week. However, there is a disturbing trend amongst some employers in this country of failing to pay workers for the all of the hours they work. This failure to pay wages is often called wage theft, and that is precisely what it is—stealing money from a man or woman who has earned it fair and square. Fortunately, there are laws in place that make wage theft illegal.
Wage Theft and Oregon Law
Oregon law requires employers to have a regular payday. It also governs what happens when your boss does not give you all or some of the money you are due on that regular payday. When an employer has notice that an employee has not been paid the full amount he or she is owed, and there is no dispute about the wages, one of two things can happen:
(a) If the unpaid amount is less than five percent of the employee’s gross wages due on the regular payday, the employer shall pay the employee the unpaid amount no later than the next regular payday; or
(b) If the unpaid amount is five percent or more of the employee’s gross wages due on the regular payday, the employer shall pay the employee the unpaid amount within three days after the employer has notice of the unpaid amount, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
If the employer fails to pay within these timelines, he or she is violating the law, and you will have a legitimate complaint against your company.
Failure to Pay Wages on Termination of Employment
There are also strict penalties for employers who do not give their workers their final paycheck when their employment is terminated. If an employer willfully fails to pay final wages, then under most circumstances the wages or compensation for the employee shall continue at the same hourly rate for eight hours a day until the wages are paid or until 30 days have passed, according to Oregon Revised Statute 652.150.
Paying Wages Lower than Those Required By Law
Both state and federal statutes set minimum wages in various industries. If your boss pays you less than the statutory minimum wage for your job, your boss in breaking the law. In a lot of cases, employees who suffer this type of wage theft think they have no recourse because they agreed to the arrangement. However, that is not the case—the minimum wage is the minimum lawful wage, and employers cannot bargain their way out of it. You should still contact an attorney if you have been a victim of this type of wage theft.
Contacting the Employment Attorneys at HKM
If you have been a victim of wage theft, you should contact an attorney immediately. The skilled attorneys of HKM Employment Attorneys LLP can be reached by calling (503)389-1130, or by clicking here. Call us today to begin working on your case.