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Utah

Utah Wage and Hour Laws

Dolley Law practices wage and hour law nationwide, representing clients in many states including Utah. Our in-depth knowledge and extensive experience of wage and hour laws across the country give us an edge in providing the highest quality legal representation to our clients. Contact us today to learn more about the laws behind your wage and hour situation and how we can potentially help you achieve your goals and protect your interests.

Utah Minimum Wage

Chapter 40 of Utah’s statutory code—the Utah Minimum Wage Act—sets forth the rules and requirements on paying minimum wages in Utah. See Utah Code Ann. § 34-40-101, et seq. Utah law generally provides that its minimum wage rules should be interpreted consistently with the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Utah Code Ann. § 34-40-102(1). In fact, Utah has a statute that specifically provides that the minimum wage rate in Utah cannot exceed the federal minimum wage rate, which is currently $7.25 per hour. Utah Code Ann. § 34-40-103(2)(b). Significantly, Utah further has a specific statute that exempts a broad class of persons from the law’s coverage: anyone who is entitled to the federal minimum wage rate under the FLSA is not covered by the Utah Minimum Wage Act. See Utah Code Ann. § 34-40-104(1)(a). Finally, Utah law provides that no city, town, or county may establish a higher minimum wage rate than that established by the FLSA. Utah Code Ann. § 34-40-106(1). The net effect of these laws is that the FLSA will provide the best guidance on minimum wage issues in Utah.

Utah Overtime

Utah does not have its own general overtime law, though it does have an overtime law specific to public works projects. See Utah Code Ann. § 34-30-8. Nonetheless, employers in Utah should generally follow the rules and requirements of the FLSA in wage and hour matters. See 29 U.S.C. § 207.

Potential Liabilities and Other Considerations

An employee may bring a civil cause of action to recover unpaid minimum wages under Utah’s Minimum Wage Act. See Utah Code Ann. § 34-40-205. In such an action, an employee may recover the unpaid wages and his or her attorney fees and costs. Id. A two-year statute of limitations applies. Id.

However, in Utah, it is particularly important to consider the wage amounts at issue before pursuing a civil cause of action for unpaid wages against an employer. This is because Utah law generally requires that wage claims involving less than $10,000 be pursued administratively before the Utah Labor Commission. See Utah Code Ann. § 34-28-9.5. However, employees need not first go through this administrative process, and may file a lawsuit in a trial court, if the employee’s wage claim satisfies one or more of these criteria: (i) the wage claim is over $10,000; (ii) the wage claim is less than or equal to $10,000 and the employee asserts additional claims against the employer, the aggregate damages of which exceeds $10,000; or (iii) more than one employee files a wage claim against the employer and the aggregate amount of said claims exceeds $10,000. Id.

If an employee prevails in court, the court may award the employee his or her actual damages, an additional percentage amount of 2.5% of the unpaid wages that is assessed daily after a final order to pay the wages, and other potentially applicable penalties. Id.

Under Utah law, there is another important pre-filing consideration to take into account. Utah has a law specific to attorneys’ fees in wage claims that requires an employee to make a demand upon his or her employer fifteen (15) days before filing suit in order for the employee to be able to recover his or her attorneys’ fees in such a lawsuit. See Utah Code Ann. § 34-27-1. The demand must be for an amount that does not exceed what a court finds due and owing in the lawsuit. Id. If the employee makes such a demand, and prevails in the lawsuit, the court must award the employee a reasonable attorneys’ fee.

It is also important to note that, in the event of a wage dispute, the employer must provide an employee with written notice of the amount of wages that the employer concedes to be due and owing to the employee, and to pay this amount unconditionally. See Utah Code Ann. § 34-28-6. An employee accepting this amount does not constitute a release of the wage claim in dispute. Id.

Contact Us

Navigating a network of wage and hour laws can be challenging. The attorneys with Dolley Law have substantial experience doing so and can help advise or represent you in connection with wage and hour questions, concerns, or complaints. If you are in or around Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Washington, Cache, Tooele, Box Elder, or Iron counties, reach out to our Firm today to learn more and discuss potential legal representation by contacting us at (314) 645-4100 or kevin@dolleylaw.com.