Q: Should I contact a lawyer first about reporting wage & labor disputes with my employer?
I worked for a restaurant chain since 2013. I was hired for 1 hourly position at a specific rate, then cross-trained & given promotions w/raises over the years. I've had issues for years with my time clocks being manually edited by different mgers, i was paid incorrect rates than what i was supposed to or for the specific jobs i was doing at that time, & frequently worked off the clock or went my entire years employed w/out a break to eat while working 10 to as long as 27 hour shifts. This summer I called HR to report my mger who kept changing my clock in/out times & switching my job codes over to my tipped server rate while i was working BOH or mgmt. I counted over 1000 hours in previous checks i was paid incorrect rates, but HR blew me off. Nov-Jan I worked 10-15 hr shifts 6-7 days/wk, working multiple jobs daily until corporate came & switched all my rates for the entire time i had worked over to my tipped server rate & then claimed way more in tips each shift than i actually made.
A: You should immediately reach out to an employment lawyer to discuss potential claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Illinois law. If you were not paid at least minimum wage (hourly rate & tips combined) for all hours worked, and you were not paid overtime for all hours you worked in excess of 40 per week, then it is highly likely your employer has violated the law. The right to recover money you have been unlawfully denied exists even for a small sum of money. You should reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible.
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