Employees have certain protections and rights under federal and state laws. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), covered non-exempt employees are entitled to a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. States are allowed to have their own minimum wage laws, but the employee will be entitled to whichever wage is higher. The minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal minimum wage.

If your employer is refusing to pay you proper wages, call a minimum wage violations lawyer in Charlotte at Gibbons Law Group, PLLC to discuss your legal options: 704-612-0038.

Do minimum wage laws cover all employees?

The FLSA applies to most workplaces in the U.S.; however, this does not mean that minimum wage laws cover all employees. Others are covered but under a different set of rules.


Some high earning executive, administrative, professional seasonal, and recreational workers are exempt from the FLSA.


Certain groups of workers are an exception to the general minimum wage rule. These workers have a different minimum wage. Some of these exceptions include:

  • Tipped employees
  • Workers under the age of 20
  • Full-time students
  • Student learners

Tipped Employees

Employees who regularly receive tips as part of their compensation may receive less than the minimum wage as long as their tips combined with their direct wages total the minimum wage. Employers may not pay an employee less than $2.13 per hour in direct wages.

Employers may require servers, bartenders, bellhops, and other service employees who receive tips to put a portion of those tips into a tip pool with other employees. The employer will then divide the tips in the pool between all service employees. Employees must still receive $7.25 an hour after tip pooling.

Employers who violate tip pool regulations may lose their tip credit and be required to pay employees $7.25 in minimum wage.

Young workers

Employees under the age of 20 must receive a minimum of $4.25 per hour in the first 90 consecutive days at work. When the employee turns 20 or the 90 days expire, whichever occurs first, the employee will receive minimum wage.

Full-time Students

The Full-time Student Program allows employers who hire students to pay them 85 percent of the minimum wage, if they get a certificate from the Department of Labor. The program also limits the number of hours a student can work. Once the student leaves school, employers must pay them minimum wage.

Student Learners

Student learners are high school students 16 and older enrolled in vocational education programs. An employer with a certificate from the Department of Labor may pay student learners in the program 75 percent of the minimum wage. Once the student completes or leaves the program, employers must pay minimum wage.

Minimum Wage Violations

Employees deserve fair wages for the hard work they do. Unfortunately, some employers do not pay their workers fairly. Some minimum wage violations include:

  • Failing to pay the minimum wage
  • Paying salary and requiring the employee work so many hours that the effective hourly rate is less than minimum wage (i.e., paying your employers a salary of $20,000 a year but requiring them to work 60 hours a week)
  • Illegal tip pools
  • Treating nonexempt employees as exempt under FLSA

What can I do if my employer violates minimum wage laws?

If your employer has violated minimum wage laws on the federal or state level, you do not have to stand for it. Whatever the violation, you can file a lawsuit against your employer to recover your wages and more.

It is important to note that you may not file a lawsuit if more than two years have passed since the “cause of action.” Essentially, if your employer refuses to pay you minimum wage from January 1, 2016 to June 1, 2016, you cannot file suit after January 1, 2018.

The team at Gibbons Law Group, PLLC will ensure you do not overstep any time limits.

In order to be successful in court, you will need to prove that:

  • You had a valid employment relationship with the defendant (your employer), i.e., if you agreed to payment “under the table” you cannot file a minimum wage violation suit.
  • FLSA covers you and your employer
  • Your employer did not compensate you according to the law

Phil Gibbons can help you gather evidence and present your findings in court. He will use his two decades of experience will employment law to investigate your employer, find any violations, and ensure your case is as strong as possible. Phil regularly files and litigates cases under FLSA so he knows all the tricks employers use to defend their wage violations.

What can I recover?

If you win your case, you may be eligible to recover compensation such as:

  • Unpaid wages or back pay for the amount the employer failed to pay
  • Liquidated damages for intentional violations

You deserve payment for the work you have done. If your employer does not compensate you properly for the hours you have worked, you have the right to recover damages. The legal team at Gibbons Law Group, PLLC has 20 years’ experience fighting for workers’ rights.

For more information on how we can help with your minimum wage violation lawsuit, give us a call as soon as possible: 704-612-0038.