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How to file a wage and hour complaint against an employer

Earlier this month, a convenience store in Salem, New Hampshire, was ordered to pay $18,222 in back wages and another $18,222 in damages to 11 former employees. This was the result of unpaid overtime wages the employer hid from the government for years.

In this situation, the employees knew that they were being treated unfairly, but did not believe they could do anything about it. Instead of seeking outside help, many of the employees simply looked for work elsewhere. If you are in similar circumstances, you don't have to wait for the U.S. Department of Labor to take notice. Instead, you can file a complaint against your employer.

As with the New Hampshire convenience store example, the first step when you notice a violation is to attempt to address it with your employer. This allows them the opportunity to remedy the situation before it is escalated.

If your employer is not receptive to discussing the overtime pay issue, the next step is to file an official complaint with the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD). Information you will need to provide includes:

  • Your name, address and phone number (which will be kept confidential)
  • Name, location and phone of the employer
  • Owner or manager's name
  • Type of work you do or did
  • How you were paid (cash, check, direct deposit) and when

Additional information that can help the WHD's investigation includes pay stubs or correspondence records. From that point the investigation will begin and can often be resolved administratively. If litigation is required, however, you can further protect your rights with help from an experienced employment law attorney.

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