The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was passed in 1939 to protect the rights of workers, including mandating a minimum wage and setting child labor standards. However, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that anywhere between 70 percent and 90 percent of employers violate the FLSA.
This means the vast majority of workers have dealt with issues in the workplace that affect their wages and records. One of the most common violations of the FLSA deals with overtime pay.
For those who have been denied overtime pay, there is a way you can recover wages. Learn more about the definition of overtime and how to file a lawsuit.
According to the FLSA, employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek should be paid at a rate not less than time and a half their regular pay rate.
Although some employees are exempt, most workers should receive overtime pay. The regulations regarding the exemption of executive, administrative, and professional employees from overtime pay protections were recently updated to protect millions of additional workers.
There is no limit to hours worked in a workweek by an employee aged 16 and older. The workweek is considered any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours — seven days — that do not need to coincide with the calendar week. According to the Wage and Hour Division, the average of hours over two or more weeks is not allowed.
Employers will often try to find ways around paying their employees to save money or take advantage of workers. These are some of the most common excuses employers make for not paying overtime.
Many employers try to get around overtime by saying overtime was never officially approved. However, an employer does not always need to give a worker verbal or written permission to work more than 40 hours.
In many cases, an employer will suggest that a worker needs to finish all their work before the end of the week, even if it means working more than 40 hours. If that’s the case, an employee should still receive overtime.
Salaried employees don’t get paid the same as an hourly employee. Instead, they get paid set salaries each pay period. However, they are not exempt from receiving overtime. If a salaried employee works more than 40 hours in a week, he or she deserves time and a half pay.
This one relates to the previous excuse because an employer will sometimes say that a worker is exempt from overtime pay. Even if they are salaried or work in an unusual industry, an employee will often still have the right to overtime pay.
While there are exemptions for some workers, the majority of workers are entitled to overtime.
The FLSA is very clear that overtime pay is time and a half the regular rate. Employers will sometimes incorrectly claim that overtime is only paid at the regular rate.
Even if employees work through breaks or lunch, that is still considered time worked. If an employee works during a break and goes beyond the 40-hour threshold, he or she deserves overtime pay.
Some people file a lawsuit against an employer trying to deny overtime pay immediately. However, there are some things a worker can do to try to resolve the issue before it gets to that point.
Notifying an employer of unpaid overtime wages should be the first step. Sometimes an employer may be unaware of the discrepancy in pay or a clerical error could be responsible. Evidence of time worked, such as timecards, is helpful.
When an employer fails to respond or pay the overtime wages, a worker can file a claim through the state’s labor department or the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. These agencies may pursue the unpaid overtime wages on the worker’s behalf.
Alternatively, a lawsuit may be filed against an employer.
If an employee is not receiving unpaid wages from an employer and doesn’t want to go through a state’s labor department, he or she can file a lawsuit. Lawsuits are a good avenue to pursue when trying to reclaim overtime pay. However, many companies will have a team of attorneys to represent them in court and provide legal advice.
That’s why hiring an experienced overtime lawyer is vital. Not only do attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help a worker go through every step of the process but having an attorney will help them get the maximum payout possible, including money for the attorney and court fees.
Aggrieved employees should contact an attorney to learn more about how a lawsuit can help them get the money they are owed.
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