What are the Damages in an Overtime Lawsuit?
Every wrong done to a person can be remedied through legal means. But unlike criminal cases, civil matters focus mainly on compensations in terms of damages paid to the affected party. The damages that are owed to an affected person vary, depending on the prevailing laws and circumstances of the case. Our focus here is to unveil the damages that can be awarded in a successful overtime law suit.
What is an Overtime Law Suit?
Overtime lawsuits are legal actions that stem out of the refusal of the employer to pay the employee for overtime work hours which such employee is entitled to. Federal law obliges employers to pay their employees overtime pay for time worked more than 40 hours in a work week at a rate of no less than one and a half their regular rate. However, some states have adopted their own overtime laws. Still, employers in these states must follow the most favorable law to the employee, even if it is the state laws.
Who Can Institute an Overtime Law Suit?
The only category of employees who can institute this kind of law suit is the non-exempt employees whose overtime has not been paid by his or her employer. The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that employers pay non-exempt employees’ overtime. Hence, employers who violate these laws can be sued for such violations. Some of the means through which the laws are violated are: requiring employees to work off-the-clock, incorrectly calculating overtime pay, etc. And to recover the unpaid wages, the employee can either bring a lawsuit in court or file an administrative claim with the state’s labor department.
Damages That Can Be Awarded in an Overtime Lawsuit
First, a successful overtime lawsuit could earn the employee the amount of wages that the employer previously refused to pay. This would encompass any overtime premium that was not paid. Also, damages could come in form of an award of interest on the unpaid wages at a rate set by law. The interest rate for unpaid wages or overtime is set under the state law. You may be able to recover “liquidated damages” (Under federal wage laws, liquidated damages are money amounts set in advance by law, awarded to employees instead interest). And your employer’s act in bad faith would make your employer to pay double the unpaid wage amount due to you as liquidated damages under federal law.
Meanwhile, penalties could also accrue in damages. In many states, employers are required by law to pay a penalty of some type in addition to the unpaid wages. For example, California law requires an employer to pay a “waiting time” penalty equal to 30 days of the employee’s unpaid wages.
The cost of litigation alongside attorney’s fees could also be awarded as part of damages in favor of the employee when the case is overtime lawsuit is won.