Many employers either knowingly or unknowingly violate federal or state wage laws in failing to properly pay employees at a rate of time and a half their regular hourly wage for overtime hours worked. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees who are not “exempt” from overtime are entitled to receive time and a half for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a given workweek.
Generally, in order to be “exempt” or excluded from receiving overtime pay, an employee must be salaried and earn a minimum of $455 per week and qualify as an executive, administrator or professional. It is the duties of the employee and not the employee’s title that is determinative as to whether the employee is exempt. An exempt employee’s duties include overseeing other employees and being permitted to exercise her or her own independent judgment. Just because an employer gives an employee the title of “manager” for example, does not necessarily mean that the employee is “exempt” from being entitled to overtime pay.
For all employees who are not “exempt”, the employer is required to keep track of hours worked in each workweek, even if the employer’s practice is to pay employees every other week. Employers often make the mistake of averaging hours over a period greater than one week. For example, working 45 hours in one week and 35 in the next does not average to 40 hours per week for purposes of calculating overtime. The employee in this hypothetical scenario would be entitled to 5 hours of overtime pay for having worked 5 hours in excess of 40 in a given workweek. The fact that the employee was short on hours in the following week does not negate the fact that the employee worked in excess of 40 hours in the first week and is therefore entitled to overtime pay.
If you believe that your employer has not paid you for overtime wages to which you were entitled, Cotler Law can help you to recoup the wages which are due to you. The laws allow for employees to not only to recoup unpaid wages, but also provides for penalties and attorney’s fees. There are certain time limitations in which an employee must file a claim for unpaid wages so is it a good idea to contact legal counsel as soon as you think you are owed unpaid wages.