UNPAID OVERTIME AND UNPAID WAGES
ARE YOU OWED OVERTIME PAY?
It is common for employers to intentionally or accidentally fail to pay employees overtime. A federal law called the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires that non-exempt employees (which includes hourly and in many instances even salaried employees) be paid time and a half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a work week. While there are employers who simply refuse to pay their employees overtime, there are also well-meaning employers who simply have trouble complying with what can sometimes be a complicated law. Either way, if you think you were entitled to be paid overtime and did not receive it, please contact attorney Harris Nizel for a free consultation.
WHAT CAN I RECOVER IN A CASE FOR UNPAID OVERTIME?
IS A SALARIED EMPLOYEE ENTITLED TO OVERTIME?
Many people think that if they are paid a salary instead of an hourly wage, they are automatically not entitled to (in other words, exempt from) overtime. This is incorrect. Determining whether someone is entitled to overtime pay involves a consideration of several factors including how someone is paid (salaried v. hourly) and the actual job duties that the employee is performing. Although there are exemptions that make someone ineligible for overtime pay, those exemptions are narrow and it is the employer’s burden to prove that an employee is exempt.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON CASES IN WHICH EMPLOYEES ARE NOT PAID OVERTIME?
Some companies try to call their workers independent contractors even though the law would require that they be treated and paid as employees. Why do employers do this? Money. By classifying someone as an independent contractor, an employer saves money on overtime, employee benefits (such as vacation, holiday, and sick pay), unemployment compensation tax, worker’s compensation insurance, and the employer’s share of social security and medicare taxes. Misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor is illegal. A true independent contractor typically works on a contract basis for several businesses at once and are generally people who are self-employed. Just because an employer labels you as an “independent contractor,” or even if you agreed that you are an independent contractor, you still may be entitled to overtime pay if you were misclassified as an independent contractor. There are several factors to consider in determining whether someone is actually an employee as opposed to an independent contractor. These include:
- the nature and degree of the employer’s control of the manner in which work is performed
- the employee’s opportunity for profit or loss from the performance of the work
- whether an employee purchases and provides the equipment, materials, and supplies necessary to carry out the work
- whether the services require a specialized skill
- the degree of permanency and duration of the working relationship; and
- the extent to which the worker’s services are an integral part of the employer’s business
If you think you were misclassified as an ‘independent contractor,” speak directly to an attorney for a free consultation
MISCLASSIFYING AN EMPLOYEE AS "EXEMPT" FROM OVERTIME
WORKING "OFF THE CLOCK"
OVERTIME IN SALES AND COMMISSION-BASED JOBS
AUTOMATIC MEAL BREAK OR LUNCH DEDUCTIONS
If you are working, you must be paid. Many employers violate the FLSA by automatically deducting 30 minutes or an hour from an employee’s total hours even though the employee may not have actually taken a meal break or took a shorter meal break than reflected in the employee’s pay. If you have not been paid for all hours worked, talk to an attorney.
Similarly, if an employer clocks you out for 30-minutes in an effort to reflect in its records that you were on a meal break—but you were actually continuing to work throughout that period or took, for example, only 5-10 minutes off before resuming working—you may have been shorted unpaid overtime wages for any week in which you worked over 40 hours.
Knowing whether you have a good claim for unpaid overtime or wages can be difficult if you are not familiar with federal wage and hour laws. You deserve to be compensated properly for every hour you work. If you have a potential overtime claim or just have questions, please contact Harris Nizel by calling or filling out the contact form on this page.