Unpaid Overtime/Wages Attorneys
The regular workweek 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.
With few exemptions, employees are entitled to time and a half pay for working above and beyond the typical workweek. 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.
The unpaid overtime lawyers at The Eichholz Law Firm provide professional legal services to workers in Georgia who have been denied overtime pay.
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 under 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 non-exempt from overtime pay. While most employees are non-exempt, those who meet specific 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 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 say it was part of your 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, but 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 salaried workers who make less than $47,476 are eligible for overtime pay under a new overtime pay law the Obama Administration made starting in 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 are not eligible. The majority of employees are considered non-exempt and are therefore eligible for overtime.
The exceptions can be found on the United States Department of Labor website. For example, those in outside sales, such as specific 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 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 standard rate of pay for every hour worked past 40 hours a week.
“Just Work Through Lunch”
Others will tell you to work through lunch breaks to get work done. Employers cannot have you 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 determine the most efficient course of action to take against an employer.
It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against a worker who has filed a claim or lawsuit.
Overtime Laws in Georgia
While each state in the U.S. can have its own overtime laws, employees within the state are entitled to the more protective law, whether that be federal or state law. States can choose to exempt or include various sections of employees, meaning that a particular category of workers could be deemed eligible to receive overtime under state law, whether it is permitted or not under federal law.
Some states choose to regulate overtime hours daily rather than weekly. For example, California has ruled that its employees are entitled to overtime pay after working over eight hours a day, regardless of the total number of hours worked that week.
Georgia has no state labor laws specific to overtime pay. As a result, federal wage and hour laws apply and require overtime pay to cover non-exempt employees. Hourly workers in Georgia receive an overtime rate for all hours over 40 that are worked in a single week. According to the FLSA, seven consecutive workdays make up a workweek. Unlike California, Georgia does not require overtime to be paid based on the daily number of hours worked.
Employees Exempt From Overtime in Georgia
Some employees in Georgia are considered exempt, meaning they do not receive an overtime rate of pay for working extra hours. Others, however, are considered non-exempt, meaning they do get overtime pay.
The purpose of national and state overtime laws is to keep workers from exploitation by employers. Hourly wage earners within blue-collar industries are among the groups that are most widely protected. The working environment and the number of hours worked in specific careers lead to a wide variation where exemptions to overtime pay exist in Georgia. Approximately 50 million individuals out of 120 million are exempt from overtime pay rates in this country.
According to FLSA’s Section 13(a)(1), workers who fall into the exempt category include:
- Administrators, executives, and other professionals who earn at least $455 weekly
- External salespeople setting their own hours
- Certain computer-related workers
- Certain commissioned workers at service or retail establishments
- Independent contractors not considered employees
- Certain farm and agricultural workers
- Some transportation workers
- Certain live-in employees, like housekeepers
Partially Exempt Workers
Some workers are partially exempt from established requirements for overtime pay. These include:
- Workers performing particular operations on agricultural commodities and workers of particular bulk petroleum distributors
- Employees of residential care facilities and hospitals that have established 14 days of work instead of seven. This agreement is contingent upon the employees being paid overtime pay according to FLSA guidelines for any hours that are worked over eight per day or 80 per 14-day work period (whichever of the two gives the highest amount of overtime hours).
- Workers without a high school diploma or who did not finish eighth grade, who participate in remedial reading or training sessions for other basic skills during part of the workweek. These workers must receive regular pay, but not overtime pay, for the number of hours spent in such training.
Specific tests are designated by FLSA to determine whether an employee is eligible for or exempt from overtime. These tests include skill level, working conditions, pay rate, and other varying factors
Georgia’s Minimum Overtime Wage
Some people refer to overtime pay as “time and a half,” because a worker’s overtime rate is reached by multiplying the regular hourly pay rate by one and a half. Georgia’s minimum wage is $5.15 per hour; however, with some limited exceptions, the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour applies. The overtime pay rate for a worker receiving $7.25 per hour becomes $10.88 per overtime hour. As mentioned earlier, overtime pay in the state begins after an employee has reached 40 worked hours a week.
- Insurance coverage
- Car damage and repairs
- Medical bills from both the past and future
- Pain and suffering of the injured
- Lost wages from missing work
In a car accident lawsuit, there are many different types of liability car accident claims and other possible defendants besides the other driver.
Rights of Employees
If employees believe their rights concerning overtime wages have been violated, information about filing a complaint can be found by contacting a local Wage and Hour Division office. Additionally, there is a nationwide toll-free phone number. As indicated in this article, some employees choose to file a private unpaid overtime lawsuit to receive deserved compensation. An employer may not fire an employee or discriminate against the worker for filing a complaint, either with the employer or the Wage and Hour Division. To do so would be a violation of the FLSA.
Are There Reporting Requirements?
There is no reporting requirement included in the FLSA, but employer records must be available for the Wage and Hour Division’s representatives to inspect. Employers may be asked to provide computations, extensions, or transcriptions.
Overtime Lawsuit Statute of Limitations
Individuals who believe they are eligible for overtime pay but did not receive it from their employer may be eligible to file an unpaid overtime lawsuit to claim unpaid overtime wages. There is a state-imposed deadline called a statute of limitations within which an overtime lawsuit must be filed. Georgia’s deadline coincides with the FLSA’s deadline, two years from the violation date when overtime wages should have been paid.
If an employee can show that the employer’s failure to pay overtime wages was due to reckless disregard or was willfully done by an employer who knew the conduct is prohibited, the worker may be allowed to extend the statute of limitations an additional year. It is recommended to consult with a knowledgeable unpaid overtime lawyer to understand the statute of limitations for your specific case fully.
Damages in an Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
The amount of compensation an employee can potentially receive through a wage claim filed against an employer is referred to as damages. There are specific category divisions in Georgia into which these damages can fall. They are:
- Unpaid Wages
- Attorney Fees
Unpaid Wages – Of course, in a successful case, the employee will be entitled to unpaid overtime wages. This should include all back wages that the employer has failed to pay. In cases where an employer has only paid a regular hourly rate for overtime hours, the employee should receive the difference in pay between the regular hourly rate and the overtime rate that should have been paid for specified hours.
Interest – Additionally, fairness entitles the employee also to receive interest on the amount of unpaid wages. Such interest will be added at a rate set by state law. Optionally, an employee could recover an amount called liquidated damages instead of interest. These liquidated damages are amounts of money set by federal wage laws to be given to employees in place of interest. Should it be determined that an employer acted willfully in withholding overtime pay, meaning that the employer’s action was not done in good faith, the employer could be ordered to pay twice the amount of wages due. This is an example of liquidated damages per federal law.
Penalties – Frequently, state laws demand that an employer pay some type of penalty and all unpaid wages that are due. For example, employers who willfully or repeatedly violate the minimum wage or overtime pay requirements are subject to a civil money penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation.
Attorney Fees – In addition to paying back wages due to an employee, the employer will usually have to pay the worker’s attorney fees and all costs associated with pursuing the claim.
Contact Our Unpaid Overtime Lawyers for 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 unpaid overtime lawyer, 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.
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Our objective is to provide expert legal services in an effort to maximize results for clients who have been injured through the negligence of others.