Can an Employee Agree not to be Paid Overtime?
There’s a very surprising answer to this question. The answer is ‘no’. I don’t care if you’ve signed an agreement that says, “This is the way I’m going to get paid. And, I know I’m entitled to overtime, but I’m not going to get paid overtime and I agree not to take it.” The company can’t rely on that. The law was written to make sure that people got paid when they worked more than 40 hours a week. And, it was written in such a way that, they couldn’t agree to that. In fact, the only way that a company can get a release from an overtime case. Is for a court or the Department of Labor, to approve that settlement.
So, if you’ve agreed to something and you find out later that it’s illegal. The company can’t use that against you. Now, they may try. I’ve had cases where the company says. “Well, look. We agreed to this and he understood or, she understood, the way she was gonna get paid and, they agreed to that.” And, that’s not good enough. The company has to pay you in a legal way. It has to pay you everything that they owe you. Regardless, of whether or not you made that agreement with them.
So again, the test I always give people is if, you believe that you worked too many hours and are not getting paid fairly, then you need to look into it. Particularly, if you’re working more than 40 hours in a given work week and, you’re not being paid anymore after that 40th hour. And, there are different ways that those damages are calculated but, you should go and have it checked out because, this isn’t just about getting money. This isn’t about getting something from nothing. These workers work for this money. They earned it. They’re legally entitled to it. And, I believe that all businesses should be on an even playing field. And if you’ve got a business out there that’s cheating it’s workers, not only is that business cheating the worker. It’s also competing unfairly against the other businesses in it’s industry. And so, it’s up to us to make sure we assert ourselves and get paid what we’re owed. And, it really is neither more nor less of that.