Some employers take advantage of the fact that their employees need work, and they sometimes take steps to try to avoid paying minimum wage. That isn't fair to employees, and it often is only legal because of unfair loopholes. However, there are cases when employees can seek the compensation they haven't received due to deceptive practices.
Take, for example, a man who worked in New York. The state saw minimum wage go up, yet he was only given $500 weekly for working six days a week, 12 hours a day. The 44-year-old man was paid with a flat weekly salary as a taxi driver, but on just the wage alone, he was making only $6.94 an hour. He did not earn overtime.
One could argue that tips make up the difference for taxi drivers, waitresses and others who are paid less than minimum wage, but it's not always true. In those cases, it's up to the company to make up the difference. Failing to do so isn't legal.
Additionally, although independent contractors receive payment for whatever a company deems fit for a job, there are restrictions on who can be named as independent contractors. Yes, someone who makes his or her own hours is an independent contractor, but when a company requires you to work 12-hour days and to wear a uniform or to perform other company-oriented behaviors, the facts could show that you're misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee.
As someone who works for an employer, you need to know your classification. If you're an independent contractor, be clear on what that means. If you're an employee, know your right to overtime and other payments. It's your right to receive payment for all the work you do for your employer, and paying you less than you're owed isn't fair or legal.