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If you have a situation where your employer has not paid you or has paid you less than what you deserve, you may need to take legal action to recover the unpaid wages. However, complicated federal and state laws and regulations govern the payment of wages, and these laws are liable to change and evolve. Before you file a claim, you need to ascertain that your case has legal merit and also find out about the legal costs.
Fortunately, you can consult an unpaid wages attorney and get a free evaluation of your case. Based on their advice, you can decide if it will be worth your while to hire them to proceed with the matter.
Let’s consider some more reasons why it is important to hire an unpaid wages attorney:
They know the intricacies of employment law
An experienced unpaid wages attorney will be well-acquainted with the provisions laid out in the Fair Labor Standards Act and will know how these apply to different occupations in the United States. They will assess the likelihood of your prevailing in your case, if it will be more to your benefit to file a case in court or with the state labor department, what legal disadvantages you might face, how much you can recover in damages, and how much you will have to pay for attorney fees.
The attorney will also inform you if you don’t have a clear cut claim or if your employer is not in violation of state and federal laws. In the latter case, they will advise you on any other legal options that you might have.
They will investigate your specific situation
An unpaid wages attorney will investigate and gather evidence of your work hours and record of overtime earnings. By law, your employer has to maintain these records for at least three years. If they have failed to do so, however, the attorney will find other ways to piece together the evidence. They may talk to your co-workers and with other people connected with your employer to find out about the work environment and your employer’s behavior with and treatment of employees.
They will find out if there are other employees with similar complaints. Using all the available information, the attorney will build a strong case on your behalf.
They can negotiate for your unpaid wages
The unpaid wages attorney will examine your work records and check if there are any unlawful deductions. They will also find out if there has been non-payment for overtime work, paid vacation leave, work-related travel, legally mandated work breaks, and work safety gear. The attorney will provide your employer with the list of wages they need to pay you. If possible, they will negotiate an out-of-court settlement that is agreeable to both parties. If that isn’t possible, they will represent you in court or before the state labor department.
They will protect your legal rights
Even when an employer has clearly violated federal and state employment laws, many employees hesitate to file an unpaid wages claim against them in fear of a backlash. However, the Fair Labor Standards Act protects workers’ rights and will impose harsh penalties on employers that threaten or harass their employees. The unpaid wages attorney will have your back if such a scenario arises and see to it that you get proper justice.
It is essential to make an informed decision when considering legal action. Along with having them conduct a full assessment of your legal claims, you should ask the unpaid wages attorney to give you a complete estimate of the costs involved. In addition to paying them on a contingent fee or hourly fee basis, you will have to pay various legal fees and costs.
These can add up, especially if the case is complicated and likely to drag on. So, it is best to have a clear idea of your state laws, the federal laws, your legal position, and the legal costs before you file your case in court or before the state labor department. Then you will be able to analyze if, cost-wise, it will be to your benefit to hire an unpaid wages attorney to take legal action against your employer.