For most of us, we spend more waking hours at work than anywhere else. That makes it extremely difficult when dealing with someone unethical on the job. But what do you do when that someone pays your paycheck?
Common Types of Workplace Deception
To better understand your options, it’s important to categorize the nature of the deception. Not all deceptive employment practices are large Hollywood movie whistleblowing types. Some are small wage discrepancies that benefit the employer at the price of the employee.
Deceptive Wage Practices
Some employers misclassify workers and exempt employees (hourly versus salary) to save from paying overtime. These practices are not only deceptive, they’re illegal. Other common illegal wage practices include:
- Unpaid or undocumented overtime
- Under-the-table pay
- Keeping fraudulent business records and employee work hour records
- Refusing to pay final wages
- Requiring employees to work excess hours with or without pay
- Refusing to give employees breaks
Another area in which some employers deceive employees is in the recruiting process. If your employer offered you a position or lead you to believe working conditions would be different than what they currently are, you might have the grounds for a workplace deception claim.
While Florida is an at-will state and allows employers to fire someone for little or no cause, they cannot defame an employee during or after the firing process. This is true in a whistleblowing situation (although may not hold up in a whistleblowing case that was proven to be false, depending on the state) as well as ordinary termination cases.
If an employer’s actions or words made it difficult for you to obtain future employment, you may have a defamation case. To prove defamation employees need to produce:
- a false statement made by the employer about said employee
- proof the falsehood was knowingly shared with a third party or the information was leaked due to negligence on behalf of the employer
- proof the false information harmed the employee’s ability to secure future employment
Fraud covers a large area of deceptive practices. An employee could’ve been hired under fraudulent premises, as above, or terminated because if them. There’s also fraud of a larger context – defrauding investors or customers.
If you have witnessed fraudulent activity at your workplace, you will be expected to show intent to mislead, knowledge of deception, and that the employee(s) suffered damages due to their reliance on the employer’s fraudulent information or misrepresentation.
Since a large amount of evidence and documentation is required to prove these claims, if you believe your employer is acting deceptively, your first step is to document the fraud. Documentation can include emails, recorded conversations (dependent on the laws in your state), texts, corporate documents, photos, notes on conversations and more. Each piece of information should be dated and the names of those involved listed.
If you feel you’ve been deceived or defamed by your employer or former employer, or your employer is conducting deceptive wage practices or fraud, contact Wenzel, Fenton, Cabassa P.A. today to schedule your free consultation.
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