If you are denied payment either of the minimum wage or overtime, you can recover the wages you are owed by reporting a wage and hour violation. Employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are required to pay wages and overtime. Due to varying state laws regarding wages and hours, some employees can get confused and end up not filing complaints about wrongfully-denied payments. Here are some frequently asked questions about wage theft and employee rights in Texas to help you understand the details:
Does the minimum wage apply to tipped employees?
While the Texas minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, the FLSA permits employers to pay lower hourly wages as long as the tips make up for the disparity. If you are a tipped employee, your employer is allowed to only pay you $2.13 an hour, but if your tips do not bring your total hourly wages to $7.25, your employer must make up the difference.
Are Texas employees entitled to overtime?
There are no overtime laws in Texas, but federal FLSA requirements do apply. The FLSA makes certain employees eligible for overtime pay by eligible employers. Employers who fall under FLSA overtime requirements generally include those who have $500,000 in annual sales and/or engage in interstate commerce. To find out if your employer is covered by the FLSA, contact the Texas Workforce Commission or an employment law attorney.
Are rest and lunch breaks guaranteed?
Texas employers are not required to provide employees with breaks for resting or eating lunch. However, many employers provide short breaks from five to 20 minutes. If your employer gives you short breaks, you are entitled to payment for them. Your employer must also pay you if you have to partake in any work activities during your break, such as taking phone calls over your lunch break.
How can an attorney help?
Due to the complicated nature of employment laws, an employment attorney can help you determine whether your employer has violated any of the most current laws. An attorney can also help you decide the best course of action, such as submitting a claim directly to the Texas Workforce Commission or filing a lawsuit. Depending on your situation, there are different costs and benefits of each option. For example, a direct claim may be cheaper, but it may limit the damages you can receive compared to a lawsuit.
If you suspect your employer has wrongfully denied you payments, consult an attorney for guidance.