In a slow economy, many unscrupulous employers attempt to cheat their workers out of promised wages, commissions and overtime pay. If you believe that you are entitled to overtime, if you've been promised wages based on your contract, or if your commissions have not been paid, you have several avenues to recover the money that you earned.
The first step is to contact a labor attorney for guidance and assistance in your legal attempts. Labor laws are different in each state, and a lawyer will be a great help in making sense of your options. Unpaid wages settlements often include legal fees, so your lawyer may even work for free if he believes that you can win.
The first thing you should know is that in addition to any state protections for back pay, the Fair Labor Standards Act federally ensures that you will receive the hourly wages for work you were contracted to do. As long as you can prove that you've done the work, both federal and state laws are likely on your side. You just need to prove it.
If you believe that your employer is slightly shady when it comes to paying you overtime, wages or commissions, you should develop a healthy bit of paranoia about keeping records. Keep copies of time sheets signed by your employer, ask for copies of your work records, and don't commit to filling in hours unless there's some way that your work will be recorded. Figure out a way to record that you were at your workplace doing the job.
Unfortunately, these protections only work for listed employees. If you are a contractor or if you are paid "under the table," you may not be able to recover your money. However, simply being called an "independent contractor" if you are actually being employed or kept "on retainer" by a particular employer is not enough to exempt you from fair labor laws. You should go over your work contract with your lawyer to ensure that you receive just compensation.
Your labor attorney will be able to provide you with all the necessary information you need to recover unpaid wages. This is one of the easiest lawsuits to win if you have documentation and witness statements proving that you did the work and are contractually obligated to receive compensation. Contact a lawyer today if you need to get the money that you earned from your employer.