You've been worried about your pay for some time. You find discrepancies each paycheck, and your employer ignores your attempts to talk through why your hours aren't matching with your pay.
You decided to make a complaint to the Wage and Hour Division, because talking to your employer wasn't helping you. Now, your employer has started acting differently toward you, going as far as to reduce your hours to next-to-nothing. You'll have to find a new job because of these sudden changes. Essentially, your employer is hoping you'll quit, and you're being penalized for filing a complaint.
Did you know that you can't be discriminated against for filing a complaint or participating in any legal proceeding related to the Fair Labor Standards Act?
If your employer fires you, demotes you or otherwise makes it difficult to work your job as a result of joining a lawsuit or filing a complaint, your employer is in violation of the law. If they are in violation, the U.S. Department of Labor and its Wage & Hour Division may need to take steps to make your employer comply with the laws, which protects workers like yourself.
If your employer is willfully violating the FLSA, they can be fined up to $10,000 upon conviction. Your employer should know better than to try to force you out of the job or to make your work environment unbearable as a result of your claim, because they are informed that it is a violation of the law to do so.
What happens if the agency discovers that a worker wasn't paid correctly?
There are a few things the Wage and Hour Division can do. It can, for instance, supervise your paychecks and the payments being made to you, so that there is a guarantee that you're receiving back wages. The Secretary of Labor is also able to file a lawsuit for back wages and liquidated damages if they believe that your employer willfully violated the law in order to pay you less and to penalize you for complaining when that happened.
If the Secretary of Labor and Wage and Hour Division have not filed a lawsuit, you're able to file one on your own with your Santa Barbara attorney's help. You can seek the pay you're owed as well as that same amount a second time (doubling the award) as liquidated damages. Your attorney will help you decide which route is best for your case.