The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs receives thousands of complaints from employees each year regarding wage violations by employers. Officials at Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, or LARA, suggest that many claims regarding labor wage violations result from clerical oversights, not from employers trying to avoid paying minimum wage, overtime hours or benefits.
A claim filed with LARA does not necessarily end with monetary compensation, because LARA does not represent an employee or employer. It reviews the claim to see if a state law has been violated. A disgruntled employee should know that filing a claim doesn’t necessarily mean compensation will be awarded. Common complaints to LARA include irregular payments, unauthorized salary deductions and non-payment of benefits. If benefits have not been paid, workers can file a wage claim within 12 months after the date benefits were due. On receiving a claim, LARA may act to enforce the Payment of Wages and Fringe Benefits Act or the Michigan Workforce Opportunity Wage Act to address an oversight.
If workers have been denied the minimum legal hourly wage or if overtime wages have been omitted, workers can file claims within three years of violation, as stipulated by the Michigan Workforce Opportunity Wage Act. Claims filed under this Act are usually cleared in the order they are received, with the goal of settling a claim within 90 days of receipt.
Once a complaint is lodged, an investigator is assigned to review every aspect of the claim. The investigator determines the validity of the claim and checks whether all necessary information has been provided. The final decision regarding the claim is made by the Michigan Attorney General’s office. To avoid this scenario, an employee should keep accurate records of hours worked and benefits promised against those provided so any discrepancies can be addressed with the employer first. Likewise, employers should maintain accurate employee work hours and payroll records.
Source: PetoskeyNews.com, “What you need to know about wage and hour violations,” Malachi Barrett, June 9, 2015