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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 118744
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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Ok so this is kind of confusing... I work company and am

Customer Question

Ok so this is kind of confusing... I work for a company and am paid an hourly rate based off of my prior year earnings, I also receive and incentive/bonus whatever you want to call it at the end of the year. The past couple years my incentive was paid incorrectly, last year I was underpaid $8,000+. Each year myself and a few of my coworkers file complaints with the department of labor and industry (PA) then receive the additional compensation due. This, of course, results in an incorrect hourly rate the next year. the beginning of each year we sign a contract that has our hourly rate, in prior years we needed to get our district manager to approve the actual hourly rate, due to the fact the amount on file is based off of incorrect wages. We get the additional compensation but as far as an undated comp report it's a losing battle! Now here's where it gets confusing, in 2016 our district participated in a "pilot" pay plan. My hourly rate under the previous IPP was around $45.00 an hour, under the pilot everyone was paid an hourly rate from $10.00-$15.00 based on certification. My hourly rate under the pilot pay plan was $14.00 an hour, plus incentive earnings that are paid at the end. Then there is a "true up", which none of this was explained correctly to us. No one seemed to know exactly how the "true up" is figured. We were led to believe our incentive would be figured each way the old IPP and the pilot IPP, the difference from the old IPP would be the true up. That indeed was part of the "true up", but our prior year hourly rate was also taken into account for regular hours as well as OT hours. At the start of 2016 we ALL signed a contract based on the pilot pay plan IPP and hourly rate. Nowhere in the contract was our prior year hourly rate included, we were never told it had and factor in our pay for 2016. With that the three of us did not have our hourly rate corrected for 2016. If my correct hourly rate had been updated as it should by my district manager I would have been paid an additional $10,000+. Again, here's where it gets confusing... Once my hourly rate was figured and approved, they then told me there was actually an error made in the pilot pay and I was only due $200.00. This "error" is huge, instead of figuring OT pay based on .5 they figured it based on 1.5 for hundreds maybe thousands of employees participating in the pilot pay plan. So, yes I am not technically due the $10,000 because of the error, however because of the additional work I do that is not accounted for unless I file a complaint with labor and industry, myself and three other employees basically have to "pay back" the error where as the rest are overpaid and it apparently will not be corrected. We ALL sign the same contract doesn't seem right those who are constantly paid incorrectly each year are the only ones to have this corrected... It sounds like discrimination to me. There is also a few more things that come into play but I don't want to lose you! So I guess my questions are, under federal and Pennsylvania state law, are they able to pay everyone differently who signed the same contract, error or not? And would this be considered discrimination being it only applies to a few out of hundreds+? Our contract I would say is probably the same as a commission based employee. I know technically it was an error, but I work for a Fortune 500 company who has errors regarding compensation, hourly rates.. you name it! And incompetent personnel who constantly error and do not have a solution unless the department of labor is involved. Lastly there was also an issue regarding a program change which resulted in again, those who do the additional work (online clients in addition to our office clients, rest of the employees do not do the online work therefore do not have the same pay issues) having to do hours more work per client, without additional pay, due to program mapping issues. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Actually, while any employee who is overpaid can be made to repay the overpayment, if they are only making those who complained about their wages repay the overpayment, this would be deemed retaliation and grounds for the employees who reported being improperly paid to sue the employer for retaliation. The law prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for making a wage claim, even when the employee's wage claim is not valid. So if they are only seeking reimbursement from you because you complained, you can sue for retaliation and seek a judgment against them for the emotional distress for their retaliation some or all of which can be used to offset the amount they are seeking in reimbursement for amounts they actually overpaid you.
At this point getting a local employment attorney to represent those of you being retaliated against would be the next step and to pursue the retaliation claim against them.