Most know that your employer usually pays you (at least) 1.5x your normal hourly wage for each hour worked over the standard 40-hour workweek. But in this day and age, where overtime pay theft is becoming more common, you must be prepared with the necessary information in case your employer refuses you extra compensation. Claims of overtime pay theft have risen significantly in the recent decade, with federal and state labor regulators claiming that corporations have gotten brazen in breaching wage regulations, including flat-out refusing to pay overtime earnings.
Before we go into the specifics, we want you to know the basics of what overtime means in practice:
Overtime is defined by federal law as any time spent working more than 40 hours in a workweek.
Overtime pay is governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act, also known as FLSA. The Department of Labor is in charge of enforcing these standards. These rules explicitly describe the rates, the penalties for employers that break the law, and the exceptions to the general rule that all employees earn overtime compensation if they work more than 40 hours in any given week.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous employers will try to avoid paying you extra pay by using deceptive strategies. Whether claiming that you are not entitled to overtime compensation because you earn a salary or asking you to bring unfinished work home with you to work on it in your spare time, these are just a few of the nasty techniques that shady companies use can use to avoid paying overtime.
If you have cause to believe that you are being denied overtime compensation, there are actions you can take.
Make sure you are protected
There are two types of employees when it comes to overtime pay: exempt and nonexempt. Nonexempt employees are paid on an hourly basis and are eligible for overtime pay. Exempt employees are often given a salary and hence do not qualify. Professional and executive personnel, as well as independent contractors, volunteers, outside salesmen, seasonal workers, sailors, and those who work on small farms, belong to this group as well. Some salaried employees, however, are entitled for overtime. Check out our overtime page for a comprehensive overview!
Document as much as possible
You should keep track of all of the hours you worked. Please take note of the times and dates, and most importantly, maintain this diary separate from your work computer, as your employer may easily get access and change them to your detriment.
If possible, the following should be included in your records:
- Name, address, kind of business, and contact information for your employer
- Your title and work description
- Payment information, such as how much you are paid, how frequently you are paid, and the manner through which you are paid
- A detailed explanation of the purported differences
- Violation timeline
Contact Our Employment Law Attorneys Today
Because the statute of limitations for most FLSA cases is two years (three years for certain “willful” violations), it is important that any employee whose rights have been violated consult with an attorney as soon after the violation as practical.
An experienced attorney can evaluate your circumstances and determine whether your employer complies with the law. If not, the attorney can assist you in assessing your alternatives and determining the best plan to preserve your rights, including filing a complaint with the government or taking more aggressive legal action.
If you’re in Memphis, TN; St. Louis, MO, or surrounding areas (including Germantown, TN, Collierville, TN, and Clayton, MO) and wonder whether your employer’s behavior is unlawful, we have the answers you need. Call us today at 901-737-7740 or contact us online to pursue your benefits and protect your rights.