1. Pay records: Keep a record of the days and hours you work, and how much each of your paychecks are. Keep all copies of your pay stubs, or your record of what you were paid in cash. If you discover that you are a victim of wage theft, these records will be very important for your case. Keep these at home, not at work. (Contact WIN for a booklet like one of those pictured above that you can use to keep track of your work hours.)
2. Employer information: Write down the full name, address, phone number, and license plate number of the person who hires you, and the person who is your supervisor.
3. Sub-contractors: If you work for a sub-contractor, find out the name, phone number, and address of the company that pays your boss.
4. What papers to keep: Keep copies of any personnel policies, contracts, union cards, papers or letters you receive from your boss, and copies of any documents you give to your boss. Keep these papers at home, not at work.
If you are having a specific problem at work, such as not being paid all you are owed, harassment, or being told to work in dangerous conditions:
1. Keep a diary of all incidents that happen. Write down the date, time, location of the incident, any conversations you have about it, and the names of other witnesses. Keep a record of any phone calls you make to lawyers, insurance agents, or government agencies. Make your notes as soon as possible, because it's easy to forget details.
2. If there are any witnesses to your incident, ask them if they are willing to write down what they saw and ask them to sign their statements. Get their phone numbers and addresses, in case one of you quits.
3. Don't sign any documents that are written in a language you can't read. Ask for a copy in your own language, or ask to take it home where someone can translate it for you. After you've done this, if you are asked to sign the document, ask for a copy that you can keep for your own records.
4. Find out if other workers are having the same problem. Talk with your co-workers about how you can protect your rights together.
Have more questions about your rights? The website canmybossdothat has a wealth of information on many different worker rights topics. If you live in the greater Memphis area and you are a victim of wage theft, or are being forced to work in unsafe conditions, email Workers Interfaith Network or call us at (901) 332-3570