Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Employers may not retaliate after wage and hour disputes

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2022 | Retaliation

Employees have legal rights to inquire about their paychecks and the hours they worked. They may ask about their employers’ recordkeeping practices. Employees may also maintain personal evidence, such as their own timesheets, for comparison.

Workers may dispute wage and hour discrepancies found in their paychecks. Employers must correct pay errors when their employees find them. The U.S. Department of Labor’s website notes that federal law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who question their pay.

Non-salaried employees must receive accurate overtime wages

Employees may find their paychecks short after working overtime. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, non-salaried workers must receive overtime pay for each hour worked over 40 hours in a 7-day workweek. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries notes that overtime pay is at least one-and-a-half times more than a worker’s regular hourly pay.

When paychecks do not accurately reflect the hours worked or overtime pay rates, employees may ask their employers to make up the difference. Employers cannot hold back their employees’ correct pay, reduce their hours or change work schedules. The law also forbids employers from firing employees who inquire about their paychecks or file Wage and Hour claims.

Allowing hostile work environments may classify as retaliation

In some cases, a worker who complains about missing pay may begin to experience on-the-job hostility. Rather than firing an employee, an unscrupulous manager may hope that the “complaining” employee quits. Allowing harsh or unpleasant on-the-job conditions to exist may cause an employee to leave.

As noted by the HR Daily Advisor, signs of a hostile work environment could include offensive comments, unwanted touching or inappropriate actions. If an employee feels belittled, threatened or unsafe after speaking with a manager about a paycheck, the hostility he or she feels may be a form of retaliation requiring a legal action.