How to Know if Your Employer is Illegally Withholding Overtime Pay
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Samantha L. Pryor, Esq. with The Halliburton Law Firm, LLC.
Overtime pay typically refers to the money an employee makes by working more than 40 hours a week; according to federal law, overtime pay must be equal to no less than time and a half of the employee’s standard wages. While some employees may be exempt from receiving overtime, most non-exempt workers are eligible under both state and federal law to receive overtime pay surpassing 40 hours of work in one week. Some states may also have a daily overtime law requiring employers to pay workers who stay more than their daily standard in a 24-hour period.
Your employer may be required to offer overtime pay if they meet the standards set forth in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The FLSA sets a variety of wage and hour laws including those that govern overtime pay. However, not every company is subject to following FLSA standards. To qualify for governance by FLSA, a company must make $500,000 or more in annual sales, and/or conduct interstate business. However, not every employee working for one of these companies is necessarily eligible for overtime pay. As a general rule, employees that make a salary, make close to or above $30 an hour, work for newspapers, babysit or offer respite care services, and those who work in the field of criminal investigation are more likely to be eligible for overtime pay than others. In the same company, a variety of employees may or may not be eligible for overtime pay based largely on their job descriptions.
If an employer withholds overtime pay, the employee may be eligible to file a claim.
Withholding overtime pay from nonexempt employees is illegal and can get an employer in big trouble. If a worker is not receiving the overtime pay they are eligible for, the worker may be eligible to file a claim or lawsuit against their employer. This claim may seek compensation not only for the withheld overtime wages over the entire period of employment but may include additional damages depending on the situation. If overtime pay has been wrongly withheld from many employees in the same company, it may be possible to file a class-action lawsuit combining all of these claims into one.
It can be hard to identify who is or is not eligible for overtime pay from state to state.
The FLSA publishes a list of eligibility requirements nonexempt employees must meet by job category. It may be possible to get an idea of whether or not you are legally supposed to be receiving overtime pay by researching the exemption status for a variety of job descriptions under the FLSA. The easiest and fastest way to determine if you are eligible for overtime pay and/or if your employer has been illegally withholding it is to contact a labor and employment law attorney in your area. The laws surrounding wage and hour law can be extremely complex and difficult to interpret without the help of an attorney.
To learn more about overtime pay and how to recognize if your employer is illegally withholding it, reach out to an experienced wage and hour attorney in your area.