Oregon Laws on Wage Theft
Wage theft is defined as “the illegal withholding of wages or the denial of benefits that are rightfully owed to an employee.” Definition Wage Theft. Wage theft can be accomplished by Oregon employers in so many ways it is impossible to list. Some more common ways are requiring employees to work off-the-clock, unlawfully deducting wages, altering time clocks to reduce the hours of work paid, failing to pay minimum wage, using tips provided to employees to pay management, and failing to pay overtime wages. Wage Theft Cost. Wage theft must be combatted by employees who are willing to stand up for their rights. Eugene Weekly. Schuck Law, LLC regularly helps employees fight wage theft by filing lawsuits against employers guilty of wage theft. Some may find it surprising how often and what types of companies commit wage theft. Wage theft costs Americans millions of dollars. The Oregon Legislature is looking at ways to reduce wage theft. Legislative Efforts. Here are some ways that the attorneys at Schuck Law, LLC can help fight wage theft:
1. Oregon law requires all wages due the employee to be paid by specified dates upon the ending of employment. An employer must pay all wages due to the employee within these time lines. Where an employer commits wage theft it fails to pay all wages to the employee. If an employer/boss committed wage theft willfully, the employee may recover 30 days of penalty wages in addition to the stolen wages. The Oregon wage claim attorneys at Schuck Law regularly file wage claims to recover wage theft along with the penalty wages allowed by Oregon law. Late Pay Page.
2. Oregon generally requires employers to pay the employee a minimum wage. The minimum wage rate generally increases each year and is set by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. BOLI Poster. Employers commit wage theft and violate Oregon’s minimum wage laws where they do not pay at least minimum wage for all hours the employee works. Rarely is the wage theft of minimum wage as easy to see as simply paying less than the required minimum wage rate. More often, the wage theft is disguised as an unlawful Deduction or failing to pay all hours worked. For instance, failing to pay for setting up a till, end of night cleaning duties, or by altering time recorded in the time clock. There are as many ways to commit wage theft as employers can imagine, so they cannot all be listed. Where the wage theft causes an employer to fail to pay its employees all minimum wages, the employee may be able to recover up to 30 days of wages in addition to the unpaid wages by having our Oregon wage claim attorneys file a minimum wage claim lawsuit. Minimum Wage Page.
3. Wage theft can also cause Oregon employers to fail to pay overtime wages. An employee’s paycheck stub may show at least some of the overtime wage theft. For instance, if the employee is paid every two weeks, and worked 85 hours, but was not paid any wages at their overtime rate, some unpaid overtime wages are shown. Obviously, at least 5 hours of overtime wages were not paid in this example, but the employee could have worked 60 hours in week one and 25 hours in week two, and be due 20 hours of overtime, not 5. These types of tricks make the wage theft harder to track for the employee because only the employer has kept the official time records. Also like with minimum wage discussed above, wage theft of overtime can occur by not paying wages for all hours worked. In a wage claim (theft) lawsuit, an employee could recover up to 30 days of wages as a civil overtime penalty. Overtime Page.
4. Oregon employers also commit wage theft by making unlawful wage deductions. Examples of unlawful deductions are for (1) uniforms that are deducted from the employee’s minimum wages, or (2) till shortages, (3) business losses for customers who steal or fail to pay for services. Like with most wage theft issues, the list of unlawful deductions are nearly endless. Deduction Page.
5. Oregon employers also commit wage theft through failing to pay vacation pay or paid time off (also referred to as “PTO” wages). While Oregon wage and hour laws do not require employers to provide vacation or PTO wages, once the agreement is made, the employer must follow that agreement. Employers commit wage theft through refusing to authorize an employee to take their vacation/PTO, and then refusing to pay the wages. They also commit wage theft by not following their policy and not paying all hours of vacation/PTO due. Vacation Page.
6. Oregon employers also commit wage theft by not paying for work time during training. Oregon wage and hour law determines whether attendance at training is considered work time or whether training is compensable wages. Oregon Law on Training Time. Training must be counted as hours worked in most cases. In addition to recovering the unpaid minimum wages, or unpaid wages, an employee could recover up to 30 days of wages as a civil penalty. Training Page.
7. Oregon employers also commit wage theft by not paying wages for time worked during lunch breaks or for short lunch breaks. Oregon wage and hour law requires employers to provide their employees with a lunch break when the employee works more than six hours. Oregon Law on Lunches. If an employer does not want to pay wages for the lunch break, the employee must be relieved of all duties during the lunch break. Thus, if the employer has the employee answering phones during the lunch break, that lunch break must be paid. Not just the time the employee is on the phone, but the entire 30 minute lunch break must be paid. Lunch Break Page.
Wage Claim and Wage Theft Attorneys
The lawyers at Schuck Law, LLC focus their law practice on wage claims and wage theft lawsuits. Our attorneys regularly prosecute Oregon wage theft lawsuits for employees whose employers committed wage theft. Sometimes in wage theft lawsuits the employees remain due unpaid wages. Sometimes the wage theft lawsuits are brought only for damages and penalties and the employer has already finally paid the wages that were due. In addition to the claims for unpaid wages, damages, penalty wages, or civil penalties as outlined above, an employee may also use our lawyers to sue and recover their costs, disbursements, and attorney fees incurred in prosecution of the wage claim or wage theft lawsuit. This allows the lawyers at Schuck Law, LLC to take most wage claim or wage theft lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This means, with minor exceptions that are within your control, that our lawyers only get paid their attorney fees if they recover wages for you.
The lawyers at Schuck Law, LLC prosecute Oregon wage claims throughout Oregon, including but not limited to, Portland, Astoria, Beaverton, Bend, Clackamas, Coos Bay, Grants Pass, Hillsboro, Hood River, Klamath Falls, Lincoln City, Madras, McMinnville, Medford, Portland, Sandy, St. Helens, and Tillamook.
Google By David Schuck