Misclassified skilled workers bring wage and hour disputes

Because certain jobs require more training or education, those who are hired for those jobs may expect to get higher pay than those in other positions. Work that demands more skill or incurs potential danger may be worth more money to a business owner or manager. However, some employers may try to take advantage of a laborer by incorrectly classifying him or her to avoid paying a fair wage. When these wage and hour disputes arise, Tennessee workers may seek legal assistance to get what is rightfully theirs.

At a construction site in another state, a worker was employed as a carpenter at $14 an hour. The man had previously worked as a carpenter for nine years and should have been offered the prevailing wage of $56 an hour. A few months later, the carpenter requested a more appropriate wage and was given an hourly wage of $46.

The pay increase brought the man's wages to those of a laborer, but still did not compensate him for his training as a carpenter. Nevertheless, since the man had a family to feed, he accepted the raise because he feared he would otherwise be fired. A few months later, however, when he did request the prevailing wages for a carpenter, his boss fired him. The man and others have filed a lawsuit against the company, which is not alone in misclassifying skilled workers to avoid paying them a fair wage.

This practice is not limited to one company in another state, but is widespread across Tennessee and elsewhere. Workers who seek just pay for their skill and training lose their jobs or feel they have no choice but to work for lower wages. Fortunately, there are advocates for such workers, and an attorney can assist those facing wage and hour disputes.

Source: newhavenindependent.org, "Wage Theft Charged At Farnam Court", Allan Appel, Oct. 6, 2017

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