Federal wage and hour laws require employers to pay overtime when employees work more than 40 hours in a week, even if they are paid on a yearly salary basis. Although there are a few exceptions, your employer must prove that you fall into one of the special exempt categories to justify failing to pay overtime wages.
The rules for exempt employees have changed, so many times, employers are not even aware that they should be paying overtime wages. If you have worked excess hours without receiving overtime pay, a wage and hour lawyer could help you obtain back pay and other legal relief.
Federal Fair Labor Standards Act
The U.S. Department of Labor enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act and associated regulations. This set of laws protects employees by setting requirements for minimum wage, timely payment for hours worked, overtime pay, and other issues.
When employees work more than 40 hours in a work week, they should receive pay equal to one and a half times their regular pay rate for those extra hours. Employers are not allowed to readjust the start of a work week just to avoid paying overtime.
Certain Employees are Exempt from Overtime Rules
The main reason many employers fail to pay overtime as they should is that they mistakenly believe their employees are exempt from overtime requirements. Employees who hold specific types of positions or work in certain fields are not covered by many of the wage and hour laws, including overtime provisions. These include:
● Professionals (including teachers and academic administrators)
● Outside sales employees
● Workers in certain computer-related positions
● Certain seasonal employees
● Casual babysitters or companions to the elderly
● Workers on fishing vessels or seamen on foreign vessels
● Certain commissioned sales employees
● Certain employees in the news industry
● Movie theater employees
● Certain administrative employees
The last category listed above, administrative employees, is a category often misused as justification for failing to pay overtime wages. Many people believe that workers who are paid an annual salary and work at a desk are not eligible to receive overtime pay.
However, to be exempt from overtime requirements, an administrative employee must be in a position where their primary duty gives them the power to exercise their own “discretion and independent judgment” regarding important aspects of operations. A job title is irrelevant–it is the employee’s actual job duties that determine whether they are entitled to overtime pay. Many administrative employees are.
Settlement for Unpaid Overtime Wages
If you suspect you should receive overtime pay, you can file a lawsuit or file a complaint with the Department of Labor. A wage and hour attorney could explain the options in detail and the relief available, including liquidated damages.
Your settlement from the case will depend on both state and federal laws. It is essential to follow requirements and deadlines. If you fail to file your claim on time, you lose the opportunity to recover past wages.
Find Out How a Wage and Hour Lawyer Could Help You Recover Unpaid Overtime Wages
Taking action to collect unpaid overtime wages can not only get you fair pay for your work, but also ensure fairness for others in the future. Talk to the experienced wage and hour lawyers at The Leach Firm to find out what may be possible in your case. Call us at 844-722-7567 to learn more.