Wage and Hour Lawyer
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Under state and federal law, all employees are entitled to a set minimum wage, as well as compensation for any overtime work beyond the 40-hour workweek. If you believe your wage and overtime rights have been violated, contact an experienced wage and hour lawyer at Riggan Law Firm, LLC immediately to obtain the compensation for your work you legally deserve.
Minimum Wage and Overtime in Missouri
As of 2020, the minimum wage in Missouri is $9.45 per hour, and it will increase by $0.85 each year until it reaches $12.00 an hour in 2023. Note that all businesses are required to pay the $9.45 per hour rate except for retail and service businesses whose annual gross sales are less than $500,000.
Be aware that this minimum wage rate increase is only mandated for private, non-exempt businesses. The state minimum wage law does not apply to public employers, but it nonetheless does not allow the state’s minimum wage to be lower than the federal minimum wage rate.
Also note that for tipped employees, employers are required to pay them at least 50% of the minimum wage ($4.725 per hour), as well as any amount necessary to bring the employee’s total compensation to a minimum of $9.45 per hour.
Overtime pay is required for those who’ve worked more than 40 hours in a week, and those hours worked over 40 in the workweek must be paid at a rate of at least 1.5 times a covered employee’s regular rate.
Common Violations by Employers
Some ways your employer might infringe on your minimum wage and overtime rights in the workplace could be:
- re-classifying an employee;
- incorrectly believing an employee is "exempt" and therefore not entitled to overtime because the employee receives a flat salary;
- exercising significant control over an "independent contractor" and depriving the employee of legally mandated minimum wage/overtime pay;
- asking an employee to engage in work for which they are not paid (i.e., duties performed before clocking in or after clocking out, attending mandatory work meetings or training);
- failing to compensate for overtime that was not "pre-approved," as the law states that the employer should have known that an employee worked overtime (though the employer must nonetheless pay the overtime);
- denying overtime pay to commissioned employees who do not regularly travel away from the employer's workplace.
Exemptions to the Wage and Hour Laws
There are several exceptions, also called "exemptions," to Missouri’s general compensation rules. The most common exemptions are for certain executive, administrative, and professional employees, such as teachers and academic administrative employees in elementary and secondary schools.
By law, there are certain employees who are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay and certain employees who are not. Entitlement to such pay is governed almost entirely by the nature of your work and job duties. A good way to think about whether you qualify is to consider if you perform manual labor or are an "hourly" employee (you are required to clock-in or otherwise keep track of your hours, and your pay fluctuates based on a differential in your hours worked), in which case you are probably entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay.
Legal Remedies for an Employer's Wage Violation
An employee not being paid the correct wages can file a minimum wage complaint on the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations website, and you are entitled to pursue a private legal right of action to collect any wages due. If you choose to sue, you may file a lawsuit as individuals or as part of a group, which is called a collective action. If the lawsuit is successful, in addition to recovery of unpaid wages you may also be able to recover an equal amount in liquidated damages, often doubling your recovery. Moreover, an employer who loses a lawsuit is typically required to pay for the employee's attorneys' fees and court costs.
Take Legal Action Today. Contact Riggan Law Firm, LLC!
If you are an employee who has been deprived of legally mandated minimum wage or overtime pay, you can recover that pay for a period of up to 2 years or 3 years if a willful violation has occurred. It is important that you contact experienced legal counsel, as any delay may cause a forfeiture of compensation that you might receive. The employment attorneys at Riggan Law Firm, LLC can assess the facts of your situation and develop the strongest lawsuit to fight for the compensation you deserve.
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