Rather than hiring more employees, employers sometimes attempt to save money by requiring their existing salaried employees to work longer hours, but without being paid overtime. This is a widespread phenomenon across many industries and often happens in violation of both federal and state overtime regulations.
Moreover, many salaried employees (and some employers) are under the assumption that an employee is disqualified from overtime pay simply because they are paid on a salary basis. However, this assumption is erroneous and can entitle the salaried employee to sue their employer for any overtime they were denied.
Salaried Employee May Qualify for Overtime
Salaried employees are not automatically disqualified from overtime pay simply because they are being paid on a salary basis. To be disqualified from receiving overtime pay you must generally be receiving a regular salary of at least $913/week or $47,476/year and be performing job duties that exempt you from being paid overtime.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which protects certain employees from being exploited by their employers, you may be entitled to sue for the difference between the amount you were paid and the amount you would have received if you were properly allowed overtime pay. Additionally, you may be able to recover liquidated damages equal to the amount of unpaid overtime you are owed, as well as your attorney’s fees.
For example, if you are awarded $5000 in back wages, you would also be entitled to an additional $5000 in liquidated damages that would bring your award to $10,000, plus your attorney’s fees.
Federal law allows you to sue for back wages for up to 3 years prior to the filing of your case. However, depending on the state in which you live, state law may limit this to 2 years. Check your state’s wage and hour laws to be certain.
How an Experienced Employment Law Attorney Can Help
If you are a salaried employee who is wrongfully being denied overtime pay, you can sue your employer for the overtime you should have been paid. But, to be sure that you qualify to sue, you should first consult with an experienced employment law attorney who can assess your case and determine if you were entitled to overtime pay.
A good employment law attorney will know what requirement you must meet as a salaried employee in order to qualify for overtime under both federal and state law and can guide you through the process of recovering what you are rightfully owed.
In addition, most employment law attorney offers a free consultation and will work with you on a contingency fee basis. This means you will not have to pay them any money until they win a judgment in your case. Even then, the court may require your employer to pay your attorney’s fees.
Contact an Experienced Employment Law Attorney
If you are being classified as an exempt employee when you are, in fact, nonexempt, your employer may be exposed to severe penalties. On the other hand, you may be entitled to substantial back pay and liquidated damages. For more information, contact an experienced employment law attorney to evaluate your case.