The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs overtime pay for nearly every worker in The United States and protects them from being taken advantage of by their employers. Under the FLSA, a standard workweek is 40 hours worked in a week. If your employer requires you to work for more than 40 hours in a work week, you will be owed overtime.
With the exception of very young workers, there is no federal law prohibiting your employer from requiring you to work long hours. The laws that exist pertain to how your employer will pay you for those hours.
If, for example, you are a factory worker, and the work you perform requires you to work 7 days a week, there is nothing inherently wrong with that. However, your employer will owe you overtime for any hours you work above the 40 hours/week threshold.
Under the FLSA, if you work more than 40 hours in a work week, you must not only be paid your regular rate of pay for the 40 hours you work, you must also be paid 1.5 times your regular rate of pay for any hours you worked over 40. This is true whether you are paid on an hourly or salary basis and unless you are exempt from FLSA overtime requirements.
The rules regarding employee status are often misunderstood and because of this, salaried employees are frequently misclassified as exempt when they are, in fact, non-exempt. Other times, an employer may classify an employee as an independent contractor in order to avoid having to pay FIDA, FICA, and Medicare insurance for that employee. Independent contractors have no right to overtime pay under the FLSA.
How to Find Out If You Are Owed Overtime
To find out if you are owed overtime, start by consulting the human resources department where you work to find out your employment status. If you are classified as non-exempt and have worked in excess of 40 hours in any workweek you may be owed overtime.
Next, you can contact an experienced employment law attorney. An experienced employment law attorney can advise you of your right to overtime pay under federal and state laws and assist you in the process of recovering what you are rightfully owed.
If you are not paid the overtime pay you are owed, you are entitled to file a claim against your employer for back pay. By filing a claim against your employer, not only may you recover the unpaid overtime that you are owed, you can also recover liquidated damages equal to the amount you are owed, as well as, your legal fees and court costs.
What’s more, this claim can reach back as far as 3 years to recover unpaid overtime. However, any overtime owed to you for longer than 3 years may be difficult to recover. This is why if you think that you are owed overtime, you shouldn’t wait to do something about it.
Contact an Experienced Employment Law Attorney
If you think that you are owed overtime and are having trouble being paid, contact an experienced employment law attorney. Most employment law attorneys offer a no-cost, no-obligation consultation and will work with you on a contingency basis, which means you will pay nothing until a judgment is obtained on your behalf.