Payroll fraud–what can I do about it?

I am 17 years old work for a restaurant called Frizzle’s. It is privately owned business local to Huntsville, AL. I have been there for 9 months now and like the work and the people decently. For the first few months I never really kept up with my money, but some people started complaining about being shorted money so I have been keeping very close track of it lately. I have noticed that I am missing approximately 4 hours or so on my last couple checks. I asked the managers about it and was told that due to a lot of employees taking a break on the clock, everyone is now being deducted 30 mins (allowed break time) out of every 4+ hour shift. Can they really, legally do this, or is that considered payroll fraud? I personally do not usually take a break when I work, and when I do I actually clock out. It’s not necessarily even the money issue that makes me mad, just the fact that I am flat out being screwed out of money for time that I put in money.
I am also pretty sure that the money that is deducted from our checks is not being reported on their tax records (although I have no proof of this). Since it is an individually owned business there is no corporate office or anyone I can complain to, so what I can do about the money that we are all being ripped off? I would rather avoid having to sue them, and I’m not interested in making thousands of dollars. I just want to be paid for the time I work. And I don’t want a bunch of lawyer and court fees just over a couple hundred dollars.

I am also requesting a copy of the record of all the hours I have worked since I have been there and a copy of every check stub (which from whata I read they legally have to give me if I request it and I KNOW they have it all on record somewhere).

Anyway I know this was long, but I appreciate any advice or information anyone can give me, especially like a civil lawyer or something. If you think you could help me out with a few questions long term please email me at

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