Nonexempt employees must be paid overtime pay at a rate 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for any time they work over 40 hours per workweek. If you have been wrongfully denied overtime pay, you are entitled to file a claim against your employer to recover your unpaid overtime pay.
Overtime regulations can be complex and vary from state to state. As a result, employers often unintentionally misclassify nonexempt employees as exempt. Exempt employees are not entitled to receive overtime pay. So, some employers misclassify employees as exempt intentionally.
Either way, being misclassified as an exempt employee will undoubtedly result in you not being paid overtime.
There are many exceptions that might apply to you and the legal tests to determine whether you should be classified as an exempt or nonexempt employee can be quite confusing.
Therefore, if you think that you have been misclassified as an exempt employee, you should consult with an experienced employment law attorney who can evaluate your job duties and determine to a degree of certainty that you should be classified as nonexempt and thus entitled to recover unpaid overtime.
Independent Contractor vs. Employee
Employers also have a difficult time differentiating between workers who should be classified as employees from those who should be classified as independent contractors, who are not entitled to overtime pay. As a result, these workers may be denied a significant amount of overtime pay that they would otherwise be entitled to receive.
Again, whether you should rightfully be classified as an employee or an independent contractor can tricky to discern. If you believe that you have been misclassified as an independent contractor and, because of this, you have been denied overtime pay, you should enlist the help of an experienced employment law attorney to evaluate the circumstances of your employment.
Recovering Unpaid Overtime
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is, amongst other things, designed to protect employees who have been misclassified as exempt or as independent contractors and denied overtime pay.
If you have been denied overtime as a result of being misclassified, you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor (DOL) which enforces the FLSA. The DOL may then order your employer to pay you back pay in the amount of your unpaid overtime, plus liquidated damages in the same amount.
You can also file a civil lawsuit against your employer to recover unpaid overtime that you are rightfully owed. In addition to your unpaid overtime, the court may also award you liquidated damages in the same amount, as well as, reasonable attorney’s fees and legal costs.
For help recovering overtime pay, contact an experienced employment law attorney to review your case. Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation and handle employment law cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you will not owe them anything until and unless an award is obtained on your behalf.