Wyoming Labor Law Board

For those that need it, the Wyoming Labor Law Board is a crucial aspect in the work place. This department is one that we all rely on everyday if we live in Wyoming. It provides for the laws that govern us in the way of just about every aspect of employment. For example, those that provide employment in the way of new businesses will find this is a very important board to take into consideration. In addition, those that are employees and work within the state also need this board to regulate what happens there for them. Yet, so few people realize the importance of the Wyoming Labor Law Board.

One of the most important things that the board does is regulate businesses in the way that they provide for their employees. In the state of Wyoming, the minimum wage here is at $5.15. This number is being debated by many throughout Congress as being too low. In this regard, the board will determine if there is a need to raise this rate. Obviously, this will play a substantial role in what happens to those businesses within the state.

In addition to this, they also provide a great deal of information to aid the individual in unemployment help. Although the current unemployment rate within the state is at 3.3 percent, which is considerably lower than that of the national average at 4.8 percent, there is still a great deal of people that need assistance. In providing more than just financial aid, though, the Wyoming Labor Law Board provides the necessary resources needed including employment training, education and even apprenticeships throughout the state.

All of these things play a role in the work place and allow each of us that live here to get the necessary help we need to maintain the lifestyle that we would like to. Yet, so many do not realize the programs and benefits offered by the Wyoming Labor Law Board.

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36 Thoughts on “Wyoming Labor Law Board”

Susan L Bullock

January 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm

I recently left the employment of an architect located in Jackson, WY after 12 years working as the Business Manager due to the owner becoming mentally and emotionally abusive towards me over a disagreement that could have been worked out.

Wyoming Unemployment is denying me benefits since my former employer says that I quit. I feel that the owner’s behavior left it impossible for me to stay. I’ve also requested three (3) weeks of vacation pay and to be paid for the days I worked in December 2009 but have yet to hear back on this matter.

I left employment due to the hostile environment he created and simply want to be treated fairly. The owner is also aware that I have been subjected to his pornographic e-mails (shared with other male staff) and printing of pornographic materials at my desk – which I’d like to avoid but I want what is fair and need some guidance. Is there anything I can do?

Thank,
Susan B.

Amelia

January 2, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Hi Susan! Part of the problem is that this is not a hostile work environment — it is sexual harassment.

You should contact the EEOC immediately and file a complaint for sexual harassment. This is almost a textbook case of sexual harassment, with the boss exposing you to pornography via email and printing porn on your printer. The EEOC will investigate. If they find merit in your case, they will inform you by letter. At that point, you can either hire your own lawyer to sue the employer, or the EEOC will sue the employer on your behalf. (You don’t have to pay the EEOC attorney, as you would a private lawyer, but they may settle for less than a private attorney would, too.) If the EEOC prevails, there could be a settlement in the thousands of dollars, and you may get your job back.

It appears that you complained about this sexual harassment, and the employer retaliated against you, which is also illegal.

This is not a case of a hostile work environment, unless you were treated this way solely because you were female. A hostile work environment exists when an employee is the target of negative behavior due to his or her race, color, sex, national ancestry, etc. (For example, when an African American employee finds a noose in his locker, that is a hostile work environment. The employee is being targeted because other workers do not want someone of his race working there. ) Our impression is that this same behavior would have occurred even if you were a male employee.

Your unemployment was probably denied because you incorrectly used the term “hostile work environment” rather than “sexual harassment.” You should appeal the unemployment decision. You admit that you quit your job, which normally disqualifies a worker from receiving unemployment benefits. However, in most states, an employee who quits “for good cause” can still collect unemployment. One reason for “good cause” is when any reasonable person of the same race or sex would have quit under the same working conditions. Although we don’t have all the facts, it appears that your termination qualifies under those criteria. You may want to consult an attorney specializing in unemployment, or you may choose to go it alone at the appeal hearing.

You should file a wage claim with the Wyoming Department of Employment for your unpaid wages for December, and for any vacation time that you were eligible to use on your final day of employment. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

kristy

January 9, 2010 at 5:24 am

is it right for an employer not to pay for holiday pay in the state of wyoming.

Amelia

January 9, 2010 at 5:54 am

Hi kristy! There is no Wyoming law that an employer must provide paid holidays for workers. This is entirely a matter of company policy. Some employers can afford to provide such benefits, and others cannot.

If an employee works on the holiday, he or she must be paid for that time at the usual rate. There is no law that an employer must pay a higher rate on a holiday. HTH and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

lavone

January 12, 2010 at 12:58 am

I have a problem with my employer bouncing our payroll checks, this has been going on for 6 months now, she always has a different excuse for this. recently my last paycheck bounced and now I cannot cash my new check, with others that work there as well. I called and left her a message and she still has not returned my call. This is not all she takes money out oif my check each time for health insurance and has not paid that since July, this is money that I could have used but she has taken from me and not paid for my insurence that I could use if needed. The insurence company gave her until Friday to make it right but she has done this to all of her employes. What do I do? or what can I do. I need my job but I cannot keep working for free and lettng her keep taking my money.

Amelia

January 12, 2010 at 11:42 am

Hi lavone! What your employer is doing is illegal, under both federal and Wyoming minimum wage law. An employee who is paid with a check that bounces, has not been paid. When an employee is paid $0, that is less than the Wyoming or federal minimum wage. Therefore, it is a violation of minimum wage law.

Taking a deduction for insurance without actually paying the insurance company is also a violation of federal and Wyoming minimum wage law. An employer is legally permitted to withhold money from your check to pay for insurance. They are not legally permitted to withhold money from your paycheck if they do not pay it to the insurance company as promised.

Therefore, this employer owes you all the unpaid wages and all the insurance deductions since July.

We are going to recommend that you take 3 steps, and that you do them all as quickly as possible — today or tomorrow.

1) You need to file a wage dispute with the Wyoming Department of Employment for any unpaid wages. If your paycheck includes overtime, file a wage complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor at http://www.dol.gov instead. Also let the same agency know that insurance premiums have been deducted from your check but not paid to the insurance company. Therefore, you want to file a wage claim for that money as well — it is unpaid wages. (Also encourage other employees to file a wage dispute or wage claim.)

2) You may need to prove that your current paycheck is not good. One way to do that is to deposit it in an account and let it be returned, but let the DOE or DOL advise you on that.

3) In almost every state, when an employee quits because the employer is not paying him or her, the employee qualifies for unemployment benefits. Therefore, we would suggest that you stop going to work, apply for unemployment, and spend 40 hours per week looking for a new job. (We don’t advise anyone with a paying job to quit in this economy. But you do not have a paying job — you are working for free.)

A word to the wise. Usually, when an employer starts acting like this, she is having severe financial problems. Normally, the company goes out of business. When that happens, employees may never receive the wages they are owed. An ethical employer does not act this way. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

File a wage dispute at: http://doe.wyo.gov/workers/helpfaq/Pages/How%20do%20I%20file%20a%20wage%20dispute%20against%20my%20employer.aspx or with the federal government at http://www.dol.gov.

Suzie

March 22, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Message
There is a group of us who work for a State/County entity. There has never been an issue about duties/ pay until the past year and a half and now neither side is backing the employees. They are more concerned with who has control of the agency. And who should fund the business. Part of the employees are suppose to lose part of their pay with the disolving of the State/County contract. What legal recourse do we have should this occur?

Amelia

March 23, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Hi Suzie! You probably have no recourse. Just as a private business owner can close down the company, the state and county can decide to dissolve the agency and lay off all the employees.
This is a difficult situation and you have our sympathy. However, it is not the state and county’s responsiblity to protect the current employees at all costs — it is their job to spend tax dollars wisely. Rather than focus on keeping your jobs, it might be more effective if you focus on the taxpayers who will not have services if the agency is eliminated. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Selina Johnsen

April 2, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Recently the hotel I was working for was sold. I received a notice from the new owners that they were unable to hire me at that time. I worked under their new ownership for 2.86 hours which they refused to pay for. Fortunately, the former company I worked for paid those wages. However, the new owner was asked why I was let go and he was quoted as saying that the former general manager, who they also let go, wanted me fired and that`s why I was let go. I asked the former general manager personally if he said that and he told me he said no such thing. Everyone was told no one would lose their job and we had a 90 day probation period. How can they not give that to me and use an excuse like that. I know it would be considered hear-say, but a lot of employees heard it.
In my opinion, these people should be investigated for the way they are conducting their business and for the way they have treated former employees.

Amelia

April 2, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Hi Selina! When a hotel or other business is sold, the new owners are under no obligation to hire the same employees. However, we agree with you that the way this employer is handling the situation stinks. It is not logical that the employer would listen to the old general manager, if they did not keep him on. So this is unfair and puzzling, but it is probably not illegal. An employer can pick and choose which employees they hire, without explaining it to anybody.

However, if you believe that you were laid off due to your race, sex, age (over 40), disability, pregnancy, etc. then that would be illegal discrimination. If you feel this was the case, you should file a complaint with the federal EEOC at http://www.eeoc.gov.

You should qualify for unemployment benefits, and we have to ask…do you really want to work for these people? Because they are probably not going to get any better. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Sarah

September 1, 2010 at 8:36 am

I worked for a company in Wyoming for nearly 6 months. They never paid their employees on time and unfortunately it was a very hostile work environment when the actual owner of the company was in the shop. If you accidently messed something up and admitted to it they would literally get into your face and yell at you so loud and hard that they would end up spitting in your face. I have been gone from this company for 2 months now, have filed for the due wages and unemployment. They are trying to dispute the unemployment and still have not paid me my past due wages. What do I do now?

Amelia

September 1, 2010 at 10:23 am

Hi Sarah! These were terrible working conditions and we are glad you are no longer there. In almost every state, when an employee quits because they are not being paid, they are entitled to unemployment benefits. If you are denied unemployment benefits, you should appeal that decision. You don’t need an attorney to appeal, you will simply explain your side of the story to an appeal judge, usually over the phone. As long as you are calm and reasonable, you should win.

Just so you know, the working conditions were terrible but they probably did not meet the legal test for a hostile work environment. Unfortunately, a hostile work environment is a very specific type of illegal discrimination where the employee is targeted due to her race, color, sex, disability, pregnancy, etc. If the owners yelled at everyone who made a mistake, that was poor management but it was not a hostile work environment in the legal sense.

However, in most states spitting on you is assault. We would urge any employee to report this to the police when it happens. While the police might not prosecute a first offense, it generally ends this behavior.

If you have not already done so, you should file a wage claim with the Wyoming Department of Employment at http://doe.wyo.gov/workers/laborrights/Pages/FileAClaimForWages.aspx. They will investigate and force the employer to pay any wages owed. Unfortunately, this can take weeks or months. Meanwhile, you should focus on finding another job. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Gwen Louise Gale

September 23, 2010 at 8:54 am

Hello,
I have a 17 y/o pregnant daughter who was working for the [employer name deleted, a newspaper]delivering papers. She has had some pre-term labor at 28 weeks pregnant and has been advised by her OB physician to stay in bed. My daughters OB physician has written a medical order for bed rest for her job. We have tried to find anyone to take her route to deliver her papers, no luck. Her manager was notified the day she was admitted into the hospital of her condition. He has been threatening my daughter with a contract she signed at 16 y/o that she has to pay a two thousand dollar fee if she does not complete 30 days of work after giving notice, unless a replacement is found and trained. She gave notice as soon as she could and was not expecting pre-term labor or having to stay in bed. The newspaper is now, not paying her for her work in July for approx. 700.00. My daughter was a minor when she signed the contract and has had a medical emergency that she can not control, what should she do next? Contact the family attorney and file a complaint againt the Casper Star for non payment? Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Gwen Gale

Amelia

September 23, 2010 at 9:17 am

Hi Gwen Gale! Yes, your daughter should sue the employer in small claims court or consult an attorney. It appears that she was an independent contractor. Unlike employees, contractors have almost no protection under the law. If your daughter signed a legal contract that said she would forfeit $700 if she quit abruptly for any reason, that may be enforcable. An employee would be entitled to payment for hours worked, and to unpaid leave. However, generally a 16-year-old cannot legally enter into a contract. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Amelia

sierra

October 22, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Hello,
I am currently working at a hotel as a maid, and the manager (employer) is making me turn in all my tips at the end of the day. I do not recieve these tips in my check. On this web site http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_tipsandgratutities.htm, I read that it is illegal for her to do so. Is there anything i can do about this?
Thanks,
Sierra

Amelia

October 22, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Hi sierra! We’re a little confused, because the link you posted is to a California website, but you posted on our web page for Wyoming. Which state are you in? California has much stricter labor laws than Wyoming does.
If you are in California, then the employer cannot keep your tips and you can report her to the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
If you are in Wyoming, and being paid at least the minimum wage, that is more of a grey area. Most hotels allow maids to keep their own tips. Some divide all the tips between all the maids, to be fair. It sounds like you are not being allowed to keep any portion of the tips at all. If so, you can certainly contact the Wyoming Department of Employment at http://doe.wyo.gov/Pages/default.aspx. This may be legal under federal law, as long as you are paid more than the minimum wage. It is also possible that the executive housekeeper is keeping these tips herself, without the general manager’s knowledge. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Anna

November 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Is it legal for a facility to hire nurses, offer a salary, pay them a salary for years, and then single out a certain department within the same facility, and place those nurses on an hourly wage.

This change for the nurses in that department resulted in a significant loss of approximately 6,000 dollars a year. This seems unfair, because all the nurses in the facility are not being treated equally as those in other departments did not have to be subject to the same loss in yearly wage.

I can understand an increase in wage for education, experience, and certifications, but to just pick a department and take their wage away does not feel right, in fact it feels as though discrimination is the issue. What do you think?

Amelia

November 5, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Hi Anna! We would have to know more about the situation to determine if this is illegal discrimination.
An employer can reduce any employee’s salary at any time, as long as the employee is told before they perform the work. It would be a problem if the employer reduced one or two employee’s salary in the department, but not the rest. However, in some cases there can be a legitimate business reason for reducing the wages of an entire department and not other employees. For example, this department might be less profitable, or have less work available. So there is nothing inherently illegal about this action.

However, any action that creates less favorable working conditions for employees in a protected group is de facto discrimination, even if it was not the employer’s intent to commit illegal discrimination. Under the law, employees of one race, color, sex, national ancestry, etc. cannot have significantly different working conditions than other employees. If this change resulted in most of the African American employees being hourly, while most of the Caucasian employees being salaried (or vice versa) then it is illegal discrimination based on race. If all the male nurses are in the hourly group, then this may be illegal discrimination based on sex. An employer cannot take any employment action that has a dispariate impact on employees in a protected group. If this is the case, you would be wise to file a discrimination complaint with the EEOC at http://www.eeoc.gov.

If the nurses in the affected group are a cross-section of different races, colors, religions, national ancestry, etc. then this action was probably legal. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

November 9, 2010 at 10:07 am

Hi Amelia,
My husband worked for a company for the last 6 years, had planned on retiring with them, bought stock in the company, paid into his 401k, didn’t realize there was a big issue until the day I had surgery and he took the day off to help me. The owners came to the jobsite and cleaned house. He wasn’t there of course and they called him and asked if he planned on coming to work, he explained to them and they asked if he would come in they needed to talk to him. When he got there they had already laid off the other superintendent and project manager and with barely looking the man in the face they told him they were laying him off due to quality control ??????

And then the next day one of the owners who is friends with one of my husband’s good friends, gives him a call to tell him he laid my husband off and it was because there was some political bs going on and he didn’t know when to get out of it ?????? Why does the owner think it is his business to call a mutual friend and give him the news its none of his business really unless my husband decides to tell his friend. I want to know.

I can understand being laid off for lack of work but these gentlemen definitely didn’t have lack of work, my husband was finishing construction on the high school, starting dirt work on the elementary and running a remodel job at the local college and then all of a sudden boom.

I know in my gut why this happened but it’s kinda hard to prove that one of the new part-owners does not like these guys and he wanted to get rid of them.

I want to know is there any recourse these guys can do, I feel they owe my husband something like the next 15 years of salary, cuz he didn’t plan on going anywhere, and he definitely didn’t know they had a problem. So is there anything we can do and can you lead in the right direction.
Thanks,
Jeanne M.

Amelia

November 9, 2010 at 10:54 am

Hi Jeanne! This is a tough situation and you have our sympathy. This was probably poor management, but it also appears to be legal.

There are a number of issues in your post and we’ll try to address then one at a time. Your husband still owns the stock in the company and his 401k. He can sell the stock and roll over his 401k. The best practice would be for the superintendent or any management employee to make sure the owners or someone else knew where he was and why he would be absent, ahead of time.

There is no law that requires an employer to look the employee in the eye while laying him off.

It was inappropriate for the owner to discuss your husband’s termination with a mutual friend, but not illegal. It may be that the owner was trying to indirectly send a message to your husband, so he would understand why he was really terminated — and it was not due to quality control. (If the owner told negative lies about your husband, you could sue him for liable or slander. It would be expensive and there is no guarantee you would win.)

There is no law that a business owner must continue to employ people he does not like. He can fire them. As long as this discision is not based on race, color, relgion, sex, national ancestry, pregnancy, age over 40, disability or genetic information, it is legal. There is no law that an owner must continue to employ someone, just because the person has worked there in the past. As harsh as it sounds, no one is owed a job and anyone can lose their job at any time.

Unfortunately, no, no one owes your husband the next 15 years of salary, or even one day’s salary. The sad truth is that there was a time when most employees worked for the same company all their lives. Today, that is very, very unusual and the average employee makes 3 major career changes in their life. Many times, the career changes are due to being terminated.

You say that your husband didn’t know that there was a problem. We would respectfully disagree. It sounds like he knew that the new part-owner didn’t like him, but thought it was not important as long as he continued to do a good job. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily how it works.

There are two aspects to every job: work performance, and the interpersonal. It sounds like your husband completely overlooked the interpersonal aspect of this job. Many times, people in the construction or engineering fields assume that the physical world is reality, and that emotions or human interactions are insignificant. However, understanding and managing the emotional and interpersonal component of any job is just as important as the job itself. In other words, it didn’t matter how good your husband was at building schools, if he wasn’t also good at getting along with the new owner.

The owners comments also suggest that there was some office politics or interpersonal interaction going on that your husband had the opportunity to step away from, and didn’t.

But all of that is water under the bridge now. Your husband got a raw deal. He and the other workers should file for unemployment benefits. If they are denied, they should appeal that decision. Without documentation to show that quality control problems were repeatedly discussed with them, the employees should win. Meanwhile, your husband and the others should look for a new job. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

P.S. It is possible that eventually the other owners will get tired of this new part-owner, and either buy him out or force him to become a silent partner, not involved in day-to-day operations. Wouldn’t it be sweet if your husband’s stock shares were the deciding factor? Meanwhile, your husband should maintain cordial relations with the other owners, in case they find they need to hire this crew back.

eric draven

November 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm

how is it that i work in yellowstone natl park the people i work for only give me overtime after 40 hours i have to work 48 hours before they pay overtime how is this legal?????

Amelia

November 26, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Hi eric! You may be owed overtime when you work more than 40 hours per week. Wyoming has no overtime law, but the federal FLSA covers most employees. Some employees such as agricultural workers are exempt under that law. You can file a wage complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor at http://www.dol.gov. They will investigate, and if you are owed overtime, will force the employer to pay you. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

DanaBanana

December 13, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Is it legal for a county/government entity to withhold holiday pay from one group and continue to pay another group?

Amelia

December 13, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Hi DanaBanana! That depends. If this was done due to race, sex, color, pregnancy, disability, etc. it would be illegal discrimination. However, it is legal to treat employees in different jobs or different departments in a different way, especially if it is based on a business or public safety need. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Bridgette

December 30, 2010 at 1:31 am

I messed up while serving at a restaurant. Is it legal when the restaurant has me pay for the items I forgot to ring in on a cutomers ticket. What about when an item is taken to the wrong table or I rung in the wrong item?

Amelia

December 30, 2010 at 8:09 am

Hi Bridgette! No, in Wyoming the employer can make a deduction from your payroll check for losses or negligance by an employee only if the employer has a court order. No one is going to get a court order to recover the cost of a meal in a restaurant. However, the employer can offer you a choice between paying for your mistakes, or being fired. (A well-managed restaruant would not use this tactic, but it is legal.) The same is true under federal law — the amount cannot be deducted from your check, but you can be asked to pay it.

If you are making these types of mistakes regularly, you should request more training. If you have been working for the restaurant more than 8 weeks, these types of mistakes should occur very rarely — perhaps one mistake a month or less. If you have been trained and are still making these mistakes regularly, then the restaurant business might not be a good fit for you. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Cindy

February 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Message
I want to let employees know that if you have a complaint against an employer PLEASE go to the labor board. I did and it was so worth it. It took 8 mths but I won and the company who was changing time cards, showing personal legal documents of one employee to others, charging tips, not paying overtime, changing schedules according to their favorite employee of the week, etc…..
is being fined huge fines and having to pay overtime they denied etc…..
Justice may be slow sometimes but it is really worth the fight. You do have rights and you must be treated fairly, it’s the law.

Amelia

February 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Hi Cindy! Yaaaaay! Thanks so much for your post!! We totally agree with you. Every week we get comments from employees who are afraid to file a complaint with the labor board or the EEOC. We always try to encourage them to file a complaint. The only reason employers get away with this type of behavior is because employees are afraid to file a complaint. But in reality, an employee has more protection after filing a complaint than before they do so. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Cathy

February 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

I am an assistant manager at a national retail store in Michigan. I have recently been told that I am required to take an unpaid 30 minute break. I have no problem with being unpaid for 30 minutes, or staying on site, but if I am required to stay in the store because store policy requires that a member of management be on site at all times, I feel I should be paid. If the only way the store can operate by its own policy is to have me on site during my entire shift, I see this as a duty to be at work, and I feel I should be paid. We usually work with only two people in the store at any time. If one is completely releived of duties at any time during that period, one person is “alone” in the store. In addition, one of the people must be management if the store is to operate. I see this as a requirement to be at work. Am I right?

Amelia

February 21, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Hi Cathy! Unfortunately, your feelings are not the determining factor here — employment law is the determining factor. Under federal law, an employee can be required to remain on the premises during an unpaid meal breakthat is 30 to 60 minutes long. (Some states require that the employee be paid unless she is free to leave the store during her break — but Wyoming does not.)

An employee can be “relieved of all duties” for an unpaid meal break under federal law and still be required to remain on the premises. This is a fairly common situation, perhaps affecting 50% or more of all employees nationwide.

If you are regularly interrupted during your meal break to complete work tasks like handle customer complaints or get change from a safe, then the U.S. Department of Labor would determine that you are not genuinely “relieved of all duties” during your meal break. However, if you are interrupted less than once per week on average, the 30-minute meal break can be unpaid and you can be require to remain on the premises. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

shawn

February 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm

i work for a oil company and we earned a lot of bonus pay. The contractor who owns the lease and who my company works for has paid all bonuses in full to the company I work for. My company then has 60 days to pay the same bonus money to us (the employees). We are owed several thousand dollars and it’s been months since they last paid out any bonus money…what should or can we do?

Amelia

February 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Hi shawn! Your best bet is probably to contact a lawyer who specializes in employment law. While the state department of labor can assist in collecting wages owed, bonuses are much more problematic. The same lawyer should be willing to represent all the employees in this matter, if necessary. He (or she) will contact the company and if they do not immediately pay the employees, he can file a lawsuit. Usually if you win the lawsuit the employer will be required to pay your attorney fees.

The other option is to take the employer to small claims court. You do not need at attorney in small claims court, but there is a limit on the amount you can claim there. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Find an attorney at: http://www.nela.org/NELA/

US

February 23, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Hi Amelia,
Thank you for your help and advice. I have put in a complaint with the labor board. Since then, I have also sent my bosses an email letting them know that I didn’t appreciate the way I was being treated. They have since appologized to me and I also let them know that I have put in a complaint with the labor board for my PTO and for the way I was being treated. Last week they informed me that they understand now that they have to pay the previous PTO. I’m not certain if they plan to pay the past reporting time and they also notified me that they may be doing paycuts all around. Sounds like we are going to be paying for our PTO one way or the other.

Thanks again,
US

Amelia

February 23, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Hi US! You are very welcome. We are always here to help.

This is fairly common behavior by a company. Once they know the labor board is involved, they suddenly become at least somewhat more cooperative. They do this partly to convince you to drop the complaint with the labor board. Do not drop your complaint, and we predict you will be getting reporting pay, as well as any other wages that are owed you such as back pay for overtime, in due time.

Any company has the right to reduce wages to control payroll costs. However, if they take this action to “get even” with employees for filing a wage complaint, that would be a form of illegal discrimination called retaliation. You can report illegal retaliation to the labor board or the EEOC at http://www.eeoc.gov. But, this may be a bluff. Most companies base their pay rates on the hourly wages paid by similar companies. So, it may be that they will not reduce wages.

One caution. It us understandable for anyone to be annoyed in your situation. However, be sure to remain courteous and polite when expressing your opinion in all your communication with the company. They can still fire you for being rude, and that is not illegal retaliation. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

justin

March 24, 2011 at 8:56 pm

hello my wife is a waitress at a local resturant and her employer makes he claim 8% in tips even if she doesnt make that much i was wondering if this was legal for instence tonight she made 6 dollars in tips but had to claim she made 80 dollars. thanks

Amelia

March 24, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Hi justin! No, this is not legal. By law, your wife has to claim every cent she actually earns in tips — but she is not required to claim any more than that.

The 8% of sales comes into play because the IRS assumes that the average food server earns tips equal to 8% of his or her food & beverage sales. That is the amount of income the IRS will expect your wife to pay tax on, unless she can show that she has earned less. Your wife should buy a small notebook or pocket-sized calendar and keep an accurate written record of the tips she earns each day. This is sufficient proof for the IRS.

She should also sit down with her employer, show him the record, and explain that she is not going to claim more tips than she is actually making. By law, the employer cannot force her to do so. If she does not average the minimum wage for the hours worked over the payroll week, when wages and tips are added together, the employer must pay the difference on her paycheck. Example: Your wife’s hourly wage and tips average $5.00 per hour for the week. The employer must pay her an additional $2.25 per hour on her paycheck, to get her up to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. (A smaller employer could pay only the Wyoming minimum wage of $5.15 per hour, but if your wife accepts payments by credit card, she is covered by the federal minimum wage.)

If your wife continues to have problems, she should contact the Wyoming Department of Employment at http://doe.wyo.gov/Pages/default.aspx or the U.S. Department of Labor at http://www.dol.gov. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

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