Minimum Wage

Are you currently making less than $7.25 per hour? Does your employer just say that since you work for tips or are salary you are not entitled to the federal minimum wage? Has your employer at one point forced you to sign an agreement agreeing to be an “independent contractor?” If so, you might have been the victim of wage theft by your employers failure to pay you the federally mandated minimum wage. As such, you need attorneys with the passion and expertise to represent you in righting this wrong.

Houston employment lawyers Robert J. Wiley, Kalandra N. Wheeler and Tamecia Glover represent Houston workers who have not been paid minimum wage. They have the experience to make sure that every avenue is pursued and no stone is left unturned. In short, if you have not been paid the federally mandated minimum wage you need an attorney that understands your situation and that will fight for you.

Under both the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Texas state law an employer is obligated to pay its employees at the very minimum $7.25 per hour for every hour worked up to 40 hours per week. The minimum wage where you live may even be higher since the amount designated by the federal government is considered a lowest any employer may pay their employees, but a local government entity may have established a higher minimum wage.

Violations of the minimum wage laws can vary in circumstances. Common examples of violations include:
  • Allowing a tipped employee to make less than minimum wage when their wages is divided by their hours worked;
  • Allowing employees paid on commission to make less than minimum wage when their wages are divided by their hours worked;
  • Improperly deeming an employee to be salary and making them work so many hours that when their salary is divided by their hours worked it falls below minimum wages; and
  • Outright exploitation of workers where an employer simply refuses to pay workers their minimum wage.
Additionally, many times employers will attempt to convince their employees that they are not eligible for minimum wage because they independent contractors, but an employer merely labeling an employee as an independent contractor is not sufficient to circumvent the law. This is called “misclassification” of employees. An employer cannot just deem you to be an independent contractor. There are a variety of factors that must be weighed in order to make an accurate determination. Strong indications that you are an employee, as opposed to an independent contractor include:
  • Being subject to a non-compete agreement;
  • Having to adhere to a strict work schedule;
  • Having the tools of the trade provided to you by your employer;
  • Wearing a company uniform; and
  • Receiving employee type benefits such as pension plan, vacation hours, sick time.
None of these by themselves conclusively establish that a worker is an employee. The law instructs us to look at the situation as a whole. But if one or more of these factors apply to your current situation you may have been misclassified as an employee that is not eligible for minimum wage.

Additionally, just because an employer states that you are paid on a salary basis does not automatically relief them of their duty to pay you minimum wage. There are also several factors that must be taken into account before making such a determination. Allowing an employer to label employees as exempt with impunity would basically reduce our rights to nothing.

If you are not properly being paid your minimum wage you may be owed hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Under the FLSA, an employee is allowed to look back two years with the possibility of three years depending on the circumstances when determining how much they are owed.

The only way to defend not only your rights as a hard working employee but those of others is to step forward. A hard days pay for a hard days work. Do not let your employer take money that is rightfully yours. We can only do our job if workers step forward and fight unfair employment practices. It can be difficult to step forward and take a stand and that is why you need a team of professionals that will be with you every step of the way.

Take Action


If you feel you have been misclassified as an employee or have just not been paid properly, do not hesitate to contact our law firm. If you choose to contact us, you will generally meet with an attorney to discuss your matter. If we believe a violation of the law has occurred and if you decide to hire us, we will sign a representation agreement and enforce your rights.