West Virginia Wage & Hour Attorney
Attorney Kay Bayless has been practicing labor and employment law in West Virginia for more than three decades. If you are being paid less than the minimum wage or the applicable prevailing wage, or if you have been denied overtime or required meal breaks and rest periods, the Bayless Law Firm can help you recover the unpaid compensation that is due to you.
Minimum Wage and Maximum Hours
Currently, the minimum wage in West Virginia mirrors the federal requirement, which is $7.25 an hour. Covered employees must be paid at least the minimum wage and cannot be required to work more than 40 hours in a week without being paid overtime. Overtime pay is calculated at one and a half times the worker’s regular pay rate.
Not all employees are entitled to overtime. Two of the biggest exceptions are workers who are classified as independent contractors rather than employees, and workers who are classified as exempt employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act provides several exemptions from overtime, including for professional, executive, and administrative employees, and certain employees working in outside sales or who work with computers or in high-tech positions.
To be exempt from overtime as an independent contractor or exempt employee, workers must meet the definitions and tests set out in the law. Just because an employer classifies a worker as exempt does not mean the worker was classified correctly. Employees who are misclassified as exempt can sue their employer to recover unpaid overtime going back several years. Unpaid wages can also be lost if the employee waits too long to file a claim. Don’t take your employer’s word for it if you believe you are being misclassified as exempt from overtime. Contact an experienced West Virginia labor & employment lawyer who can help you determine if you are being paid correctly.
Meal Periods and Rest Breaks
Contrary to popular belief, federal law does not require employers to provide any meal or rest breaks during the work day. However, West Virginia labor law does require that any employee who works a six-hour shift or longer is entitled to a 20-minute meal or rest break. The 20 minutes does not have to be provided in one block of time but can be broken up, for example into two ten-minute breaks during the six-hour period. Of course, the law does not prevent employers from giving their workers more or longer breaks, but any break of 30 minutes or less must be paid (break is taken on the clock).
Contact an Experienced West Virginia Labor & Employment Law Attorney for Your Wage & Hour Claim
Violations of wage and hour laws are rarely one-time incidents. Whether they are committed intentionally or just due to ignorance or clerical errors, wage and hour violations may go on for years before they are noticed. It is important to contact an experienced West Virginia labor & employment law attorney as soon as you notice an error, so that as much of your lost wages as possible can be recovered. In southern West Virginia, contact the Bayless Law Firm in Princeton for a free consultation.