When you arrive at your place of work and clock in, you expect payment for all the hours you’ve worked. You have the right to assume that you will receive full payment for the time you spent on the job at the rate agreed upon by you and your employer when you accepted the job offer. However, you may find that your paychecks are less than what you think they will be, and you might not be certain about how you can find out whether your income is accurate.
If you suspect that your employer is underpaying you, you do not have to remain silent about your suspicions. Before you speak out, however, it will benefit you to know what steps you can take to protect your interests and seek the full amount to which you have a right. All employees, regardless of job description and other factors, deserve to receive the full amount they have earned and have the right to fair payment of all earned wages.
Suspicions of underpayment
Before you take action against your employer or make accusations about underpayment, there are certain steps you will need to take that will allow you to be certain about your wages and the amount you are currently receiving. Underpayment is frustrating and demoralizing, but the following steps may help you feel empowered about your situation:
- Check the details of the check. Are the number of hours correct? Did you get credit for all your overtime hours? Is the hourly rate correct?
- If your pay is wrong, speak with human resources or the correct party about your concerns as soon as possible.
- Keep track of regular and overtime hours worked, and compare them to the details on your check.
- If speaking with human resources or directly with your boss is not effective, you may consider a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor, Wages and Hour Division or your state labor agency.
Even an inadvertent mistake with your paycheck can impact your family’s financial health and other aspects of your life. You deserve full payment of all hours worked, and it may be necessary to have legal assistance as you fight for an accurate paycheck. If you think your employer is violating wage and hour laws or underpaying you, it may be helpful to first seek a professional opinion regarding your legal options.