When it comes to your paycheck, your employer may be engaging in some shenanigans. Perhaps you’re expected to work off the clock. Maybe you’re misclassified as an employee exempt from overtime pay. It could be that you’ve been paid as an independent contractor rather than as an employee.
You might know that you’re being taken advantage of, but you may be hesitant to do anything about it because you fear employer retaliation. After all, you might think, it is worth it to stand up for your rights if you’ll face a layoff or another type of retaliation in the workplace?
It would be a lie to say that workplace retaliation doesn’t take place. It does. However, laws do protect you from employer retaliation when you’re asserting your rights under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the state law about Connecticut overtime pay.
For example, the Fair Labor Standards Act says that it’s illegal to “discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee” because the person has filed a complaint or testified about a complaint. This is true whether you complain to the government, complain to your employer, or talk to employment attorneys about suing your employer.
But let’s talk about worst-case scenario, namely that a person is fired for lodging a complaint. That is what’s called wrongful termination. If you are wrongfully terminated while exercising your FLSA rights, you can sue the employer for reinstatement and twice the amount of any lost wages.
Similarly, Connecticut law says that employer retaliation is illegal, and says that you can file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner. After receiving the complaint, the commissioner holds a hearing, and can award you reinstatement, back wages and benefits, and attorney fees and costs.
If you believe you’re entitled to Connecticut overtime pay, don’t let fear of employer retaliation prevent you from standing up for what is rightfully yours. Employment attorneys can represent you – typically with no upfront cost – and see that you get the pay you deserve.