Iowa is a state that allows people to earn an honest living through employment at wages regulated by state and federal laws. Workers are afforded certain rights, but these rights can vary depending on the job a person works.
Many workers are hourly employees subject to the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), but salaried employees are often exempt from these protections. Exceptions also exist for the first 90 days of a person’s employment.
If you believe that your employer has not fairly compensated you for work you performed, you are entitled to exercise your rights. You will want to hire an Employment Law Attorney who has the experience and resources necessary to help you hold your employer accountable. With your attorney’s assistance, you could recover the wages that you were rightfully owed by law, and you could send a message that employees deserve to be paid what they were promised.
Higgins Law Firm, PLLC, has been fighting to protect the rights of Iowans since 2011. Call (515) 619-9148 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.
The minimum wage in Iowa is generally $7.25 per hour, but certain exceptions do exist. First, an employer can pay an initial employment wage of $6.35 per hour during the employee’s first 90 days of employment. The initial employment wage can only be paid for a total of 90 calendar days, so a person who is rehired after quitting or being fired cannot be paid the initial employment wage again.
Another exception to the minimum wage requirement concerns tipped employees. Employees who earn $30 or more a month in tips can be paid as little as $4.35 an hour, but the employer must pay the difference when the tips received do not average $7.25 an hour.
Employers in Iowa are required to comply with the minimum wage law when they gross at least $300,000 in sales or business per year. An employer must gross at least $500,000 in sales or business to be covered by the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour.
Some of the most common examples of FLSA or other wage violations in Iowa include, but are not limited to:
The Iowa Division of Labor accepts wage claims when people believe that they were not paid the wages they were owed.
Iowa has no state law covering overtime, so the FLSA applies in most cases. Under the FLSA, a nonexempt employee must be paid time and a half (1.5 times their regular rate) for every hour worked in excess of 40 hours in a work week. Exempt employees are never entitled to overtime, regardless of how many hours they work.
Most hourly employees are subject to FLSA protections. Overtime law cases often involve employers misclassifying employees, resulting in them not receiving overtime wages.
The Iowa Division of Labor instructs people who think they have an unpaid overtime claim to contact the United States Department of Labor (DOL). To file a complaint with the DOL, you will need your name, address, and phone number, the name of the company where you work (or worked), the location of the company (which may be different from the location where you worked), the company’s phone number, the name of the manager or owner, the type of work you did, and how and when you were paid.
Many jobs in Iowa are considered at-will employment, which means an employer is allowed to terminate an employee for almost any reason not forbidden by federal law. Exceptions to employment at-will include discrimination (age, sex, race, color, national origin, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.
The first way that a lawyer will be able to help is by conducting an independent investigation of your case. The attorney can secure all of the different forms of evidence that may be used in your case.
Another important reason to work with a lawyer is that they will know what legal deadlines are applicable and help ensure that you file your action in time to satisfy them. The statutes of limitations in these cases can vary greatly, with some people only having a matter of days to take action while others are afforded several years.
The attorney can then negotiate to help you achieve the most desirable resolution to your case. They will be able to fight to allow you to recover all of the wages you are owed.
When you have an unpaid wages, overtime, or breaks claim, you could be entitled to the wages you were not paid. You could also be entitled to something called “liquidated damages.”
Iowa Code § 91A.2.6 defines liquidated damages as:
“The sum of 5 percent multiplied by the amount of any wages that were not paid or of any authorized expenses that were not reimbursed on a regular payday or on another day multiplied by the total number of days, excluding Sundays, legal holidays, and the first seven days after the regular payday on which wages were not paid or expenses were not reimbursed. This sum cannot exceed the amount of the unpaid wages and cannot accumulate when an employer is subject to a petition filed in bankruptcy.”
Under Iowa Code § 91A.8, the employer is liable to the employee for any unpaid wages or expenses plus liquidated damages, court costs, and any attorney’s fees when it is shown that the employer intentionally failed to pay an employee wages or reimburse expenses. In other instances, the employer is liable only for unpaid wages or expenses, court costs, and attorney’s fees.
Has your employer failed to pay you what you deserve in Iowa? You should waste no time in contacting Higgins Law Firm, PLLC, for assistance filing a claim for your unpaid wages.
Stuart Higgins was named one of the Top 40 Under 40 by the Association of American Trial Lawyers and one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers. We can help you understand all of your legal options as soon as you call (515) 619-9148 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.