Uncovering the Mysteries of Unpaid Overtime

Overtime pay is one of the most common boosts to one’s paycheck. It is available for a large number of employees across the country, and went into effect in 1938 after establishment of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This act states that eligible employees who work over 40 hours in one workweek must receive overtime pay. The rate of overtime pay is at least “time and a half.” This means that you receive your regular hourly pay, plus half of that pay for every overtime hour. For example, if you receive $16 an hour as your regular rate of pay, then your overtime rate is $24. As we can see, this is a significant boost to the regular pay rate.

At the Leichter Law Firm, our Board-Certified employment lawyers in Texas represent a wide range of employment-related issues, including unpaid overtime. The rules on overtime wages are often hard to figure out, and it’s easy for employers to get away with unpaid overtime. You might think that salaried employees, licensed professionals, or independent contractors don’t deserve overtime. Workers who are denied wages often feel powerless. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. Our team of qualified Texas unpaid overtime lawyers can help you get the money your employer owes you. If you’d like to set up your free consultation, give our office a call at 512-495-9995 today.

How can I find out if I’m owed overtime pay?

Let’s assume that today is payday for you. This week, you logged 45 hours of work during your normal workweek, and you’re looking forward to those 5 hours of overtime pay. Once you view your pay stub, you realize that your employer failed to include overtime for those last 5 hours. Aren’t they supposed to pay you for that time? What are you supposed to do if you have unpaid overtime?

First, we recommend determining whether or not you actually qualify for overtime pay. The FLSA determines overtime pay eligibility based on three factors.

  • Salary
  • Job duties
  • Your skills

In the next few sections, we cover these three factors in greater detail. These will help you determine whether or not you qualify for overtime pay. If you’re worried about tax implications, see: 1099 vs W2.

Does salary matter with overtime pay?

Contrary to what many people believe, simply receiving a salary in any amount does not mean you are not entitled to overtime.

In order to be disqualified from receiving overtime, an employee must receive a salary of at least $684 per week AND perform exempt job duties. If an employee is paid hourly, or receives a salary of less that $684 per week, that employee is probably entitled to overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

However, if the employee receives a salary of at least $684 per week, that employee will still be entitled to overtime pay unless that employee also performs exempt job duties

How do job duties affect overtime eligibility?

If you receive a salary of at least $684 per week, the next step is analyzing your day-to-day job duties. The most common exemptions are the professional exemption, the executive exemption, and the administrative exemption.

For example, under the administrative exemption, an employee will not qualify for overtime if all of the following requirements are met.

  • Their weekly pay is at least $455.
  • The primary duties of the employee are the performance of office work or non-manual work. This work relates directly to the management or business operations of the employer or their customers.
  • The employee exercises independent judgment in the performance of their primary duties.

Basically, this prevents people like managers, CEOs, or other executives from unpaid overtime compensation. They do not receive overtime pay, even if their salary falls below $47,476 a year.

If you’re a contractor that believes your independent contractor rights are being dismissed because of labor law violations, contact our office. We’d love to help

How do my skills affect overtime pay?

Certain professions, due to their required licenses, degrees, or prerequisites, are not usually eligible for overtime compensation. Examples of these professions include doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Conversely, employees such as retail workers, salespeople, and delivery drivers require overtime payment. Some industries see more unpaid overtime violations than others.

Below, we list occupations with high levels of wage violations.

  • Retail workers
  • Cashiers
  • Teachers
  • Food service workers
  • Nurses
  • Customer service workers
  • Janitors
  • Truck drivers
  • Secretaries
  • Accountants

How much do you win in an overtime case?

While we cannot give an exact award amount for a successful unpaid overtime case, we can explain how we value our clients’ cases. Primarily, successful cases award damages for the unpaid overtime you were entitled to. If your employer knew or should have known about your entitlement to overtime compensation, you receive double that amount. Additionally, your reward usually covers attorney fees.

What if I didn’t ask my employer for overtime?

Good news: Your employer still owes you overtime pay. As the employer, they are responsible for keeping track of the hours of their employees. They bear the responsibility of knowing when their employees exceed or will exceed 40 hours per week. Because they create the schedules, they know how much their employees work. If their employees are eligible for overtime and exceed 40 hours in a week, they must pay overtime. No exceptions.

How does pay cycle affect overtime?

Overtime is based on a single workweek, or seven consecutive days. Many workers across the United States receive bi-weekly pay. This means that they work for two weeks, then receive payment for those two weeks. Employers may not average the hours between those two weeks. If you work 35 hours one week and 45 hours the next week, the employer still owes you over time for the second week. Just because you did not work a full 40 hours the first week, this does not mean your employer may deny overtime pay for the second week.

What should I do if I’m not being paid overtime?

Luckily, employees with unpaid overtime have options. In this section, we explain the steps you should take to secure that payment.

  1. Determine whether or not you are eligible for overtime payment. Review the above sections about eligibility, and determine if your position is exempt from overtime payments. If you qualify for overtime, then your employer owes it to you.
  2. Keep a record of your unpaid overtime. Calculate any and all hours that you should have received overtime compensation but didn’t. The more physical documentation you collect, the better. Pay stubs and time sheets work well for this. They serve as proof, and give your employment lawyer more evidence for your case.
  3. Speak with your employer or the Human Resources department. Sometimes, people make mistakes. Approach the appropriate people with a calm attitude and point out the discrepancies. If they admit to a mistake and promptly fix it, there is no need for legal action. However, many employers know full well that they short their employees. In these cases, they are likely to continue.
  4. Once you have all the information needed for a case, hire an experienced attorney. Board-Certified Labor and Employment Law attorneys make up less than 1% of Texas attorneys. Why not choose the firm that’s best-equipped to fight your case?

Contact an Unpaid Overtime Attorney

The Leichter Law Firm proudly serves employees all over the state of Texas. Our Board-Certified professionals make a world of difference in seeking a fair settlement for your case. When you hire our law firm, your employer won’t know what hit them. We will make sure that we fight for every penny of your hard-earned money. To schedule your free consultation, give us a call at 512-495-9995 today.

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