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GASTONIA, N.C. -- These days every penny counts. So one Gastonia woman came to NewsChannel 36 for help after a restaurant wasn't paying her husband what he'd earned.

Ashley Best is a new mom and says when her husband s new job recently couldn t pay him, they panicked.

It s very important. I work on a bi-weekly basis. We have rent. We have the car payment and we ve been paying everything one check at a time, Best said. We re paycheck to paycheck people.

Her husband was working at what appears to be a restaurant in downtown Gastonia.

Someone answering the phone there told NewsChannel 36 it was one restaurant for three months and now appears to be another under the same management.

Ashley says her husband worked for three weeks and never got paid. When they tried to track down the owner she says they were given the run around and not nearly as much money as her husband was owed.

The people that worked there said we haven t seen him in a few days and they said they were waiting on their paychecks, too, she said.

We tried to get comment and never heard back. So we went to the Department of Labor and Maxine Mills, the Assistant District Director for the U.S. Department of Labor, said this happens a lot.

Almost 200 Charlotte area workers faced this in the last year alone.

She says the simplest way to protect yourself is to track your hours. It doesn t have to be anything fancy, just some sort of record of the hours you worked. And, of course, you have to file an official complaint.

The Department of Labor has made it easier than ever to get help with a new smart phone app for hourly workers.

You can check out that app at www.dol.gov.

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