Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
The regular work week is 40 hours. Any time worked above that mark should be rewarded with overtime pay. However, unscrupulous employers will sometimes try to skirt their financial obligations by engaging in deceptive and illegal practices.
Fortunately for employees, the law is on your side.
Except for a few exemptions, employees are entitled to time and a half pay for working above and beyond the typical work week. If an employer refuses to pay you overtime, you have some recourse.
Protections built into the law can help you recoup any unpaid overtime wages.
How Does Overtime Work?
The tenets of overtime are simple. Any work from regular employees beyond 40 hours is considered overtime and should be paid time and a half.
The concept of overtime was first solidified in federal law under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA is a wide-ranging act that sets the standard for labor laws. It was first passed in 1938 and covers various topics, such as placing limitations on child labor and establishing a right to a minimum wage.
The law puts some limitations on overtime work in the form of exemptions.
According to the FLSA, workers are either exempt or nonexempt from overtime pay. While most employees are nonexempt, those who meet certain criteria are not entitled to overtime. For example, those who are considered independent contractors are not eligible to receive overtime pay.
Common Ways Employers Deny Overtime Pay
Although most employees should receive overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week, some employers will try to find workarounds.
These are some of the most common ways employers deny workers overtime pay.
“Overtime Was Unauthorized”
One of the most common ways an employer will deny overtime pay is by claiming the extra work was not approved. Some will even tell you to work more than 40 hours but then say it was part of regular work duties.
An employer does not always need to grant you explicit permission to work extra hours either. If you are given too much work to accomplish within the 40-hour week but the employer wants it done, you may still be entitled to overtime pay.
“Salaried Employees Do Not Get Overtime”
A common claim is that employees paid on a salary basis instead of an hourly basis are not eligible for overtime. This is not always true. Overtime pay is determined by job duties and pay levels rather than how an employee is paid.
For example, some salary workers who make less than $47,476 are eligible for overtime pay under a change the Obama Administration made starting 2017. Those who make more than that amount and supervise other employees may not be eligible.
“Exempt Employees Do Not Get Overtime”
Most employers know there are some exemptions to overtime, but some will also incorrectly claim that those who deserve overtime do not. The majority of employees are considered nonexempt and are therefore eligible for overtime.
The exceptions can be found at the United States Department of Labor website. For example, those in outside sales, such as certain computer employees, are not entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA.
“You Only Get Regular Pay for Overtime”
Some employers will not deny an employee for overtime pay but may suggest that the pay rate should be standard. That’s not the law.
Employees should receive one and a half times the normal rate of pay for every hour worked past 40 hours in a week.
“Just Work Through Lunch”
Others will tell you to work through lunch breaks to get work done. Employers cannot tell you to work without clocking in. Regardless of when the work is done, overtime pay is required beyond the 40-hour threshold.
What Happens If You Are Denied Overtime Pay
The first thing you should do is talk to your employer. Explain why you deserve to be paid overtime wages and present to them any relevant information or evidence you might have.
If an employer is not responsive or continues to deny overtime pay, you have several options. You can file a wage claim through your state’s labor department, which will typically hold a hearing or dismiss the claim if warranted.
An employee can also pursue legal action through an unpaid overtime lawsuit. It is best to contact an attorney to find out the most efficient course of action to take against an employer.
It is against the law for an employer to retaliate against a worker who has filed a claim or lawsuit.
How Unpaid Overtime Lawsuits Can Help
Lawsuits are often seen as a last resort for an aggrieved party. The unfortunate truth is that companies like multinational corporations have the knowledge and legal advice of countless lawyers to help them navigate lawsuits for overtime pay. Workers are often left without much information or power.
With the help of an experienced attorney, a lawsuit can help thousands of workers reclaim millions of dollars in overtime pay. Each year countless lawsuits are filed against companies denying workers pay. This includes some of the biggest companies in the United States, such as Amazon, Chipotle, FedEx, and more.
Those who are owed overtime pay are encouraged to contact an attorney to find out the next steps to recover unpaid overtime wages.