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National Employment attorneys

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that provides a range of rights to employees, including minimum wage, rules for handling tips, and overtime pay eligibility. Currently, the FLSA protects more than 130 million workers in the United States from wage theft.

There are two ways employers can be held accountable for FLSA violations. First, the federal government can prosecute violations of the FLSA. Second, employees may take direct action against employers in court. “Similarly situated” employees can bring a “collective action” against their employer under the FLSA. However, the rules and regulations of the FLSA are complex and can often be confusing. If you believe your employer has broken the law and you want to file a claim, it’s best to contact a Wage Theft or FLSA attorney for guidance.

According to Fair Labor Standards Act, if your employer denied you overtime pay, deprived you of tips, or paid you less than the minimum wage, you may have a claim against your employer to collect compensation for wage theft.

How we can Help

If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of the overtime that you deserve, is improperly taking a portion of your tips, or paying you less than minimum hourly wage, it is in your best interest to consult a Wage Theft or FLSA attorney. The Carlson Law Firm is ready to help you with wage theft and other FLSA violations. Our attorneys handle claims like these throughout the state of Texas and across the country. We would be happy to discuss your claim with you. In addition, we provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your case.

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Employment rights

As an employee, you should be aware of the following:

  • Employees in Texas and across the US (unless exempt) must receive at least 1.5 times the regular hourly rate as overtime pay for hours they worked above 40 hours in a given workweek.
  • Employers may pay tipped employees as little as $2.13 per hour. However, tips and direct pay must total at least the minimum federal wage of $7.25 per hour (note that some states have a higher minimum wage). This is known as a “tip credit.” If an employee’s tips and the employer’s direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour together do not equal the minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference.
  • Tips are the property of the employee. The employer may not use an employee’s tips for any reason other than as a “tip credit” against the minimum wage obligation to the employee or for a valid tip pool. The FLSA prohibits any arrangement between the employer and the tipped employee whereby any part of the tip becomes the property of the employer. A valid tip pooling arrangement may only include employees who customarily and regularly receive tips.

What Is a collective action?

Employees with similar claims can join together in one lawsuit, a “collective action,” to pursue claims against their employer under the FLSA. The employees must be “similarly situated” to bring a collective action. This means that they must be subject to a common employer policy. For example, a group of servers at a restaurant chain might bring a collective action claiming that the employer requires them to contribute to a tipping pool that includes managers. These employees are similarly situated under the FLSA and could likely bring a collective action claim against their employer. 

Tipped employees

Tipped employees, such as waitstaff and others, are especially vulnerable to employers’ illegal acts, including:

  • Allowing management employees to participate in tip pools, i.e., taking a cut of the tips
  • Charging waiters and waitresses for walk-out customers who do not pay their bill
  • Deducting tips from the employees’ base pay
  • Paying less than minimum wage to certain classifications of employees
  • Failing or refusing to pay overtime when required
  • Altering time cards to inaccurately reflect hours worked

Actions not covered

The FLSA does not require employers to:

  • Pay for vacation, sick leave, or holiday time
  • Compensate for meal or break periods
  • Pay higher wages for employees who work weekends, nights or holidays
  • Give a discharge notice or reason for termination
  • Provide severance pay
  • Provide health insurance or other insurance benefits

There's a Carlson Law Firm near you

With over a dozen locations throughout Texas, there’s a Carlson Law Firm near you. We have law offices located in Killeen, Temple, Waco, Round Rock, Austin, San Antonio, Laredo, Bryan, Lubbock, Corpus Christi, and more.

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