The vast majority of employees are entitled to overtime pay at “time and a half” for every hour worked above forty hours in a week. Yet , every day employers violate the federal and state laws enacted to compensate workers for hard work and the inconvenience of longer hours. The state and federal laws (the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA) governing overtime pay can be complex and often confusing. But the penalties for companies that violate the law are not : recovery of two to three years of unpaid wages, liquidated damages (twice the amount of back wages), and attorney’s fees.
Common violations of the laws include :
– Failing to pay time and a half for hours worked over forty per week
– Failing to pay overtime to salaried workers who are not really involved in management,supervision
or decision making for the business.
– Failing to pay workers for time worked “off the clock”
– Failing to pay for time required of the worker spent travelling or working at home
The U.S. Department of Labor website provides useful information about the basic overtime laws in its wage and hour site.
Often, workers are concerned that pursuing an overtime pay claim may damage their status with their employer. However, the federal and state laws are very clear that an employer cannot under any circumstances retaliate against an employee who files such a claim. Any such retaliation can be stopped and can be the subject of further penalties.
Because the laws governing overtime pay are complex, it is important for the worker to consult an attorney who is experienced in the field.