Jan 1, 2024

What if You’re a Victim of Wage Theft and You Don’t Even Know It?

What if You’re a Victim of Wage Theft and You Don’t Even Know It? - A hand reaching into a person's pocket to get money

Tallahassee’s growing healthcare industry has been great for the city, but it looks like there’s one thing that might not be so great: Employers not paying workers for overtime.

A Leon County Medicaid managed-care case manager is alleging her employer, a state of Florida contractor, owes her overtime. The woman, along with 10 other case managers, is suing a Centene Management Co. subsidiary — Sunshine Health — for having required her “to work long hours and on weekends, including overtime hours,” according to a Florida Politics report.

Overtime disputes in the healthcare industry happen frequently, but these disputes are evident in every industry. Here are some ways you might be missing out as an employee.


The most prominent way you lose out on overtime is misclassification. An employee is misclassified if their employer lists them as exempt from overtime pay, instead of being non-exempt. This is a clear method of wage theft if the position is in fact eligible for overtime compensation.

If an employee’s job doesn’t meet certain of the U.S. Department of Labor’s requirements, an employee could be eligible for overtime.

To be considered exempt from overtime, an employee must take home a salary, have certain types of professional, administrative, or managerial duties, and starting Dec. 1, make more than the threshold of $47,776 annually.

The problem with this situation is that, in some cases, an employee might think she’s not eligible for overtime because of the misclassification, put in any number of extra hours a year, and then miss out on that overtime pay to which she was entitled.

Some other overtime misclassifications occur when employers combine exempt and non-exempt job duties or label a worker an independent contractor who is performing the duties of a bona fide employee. All of these change the nature of your job, and eat up your valuable time, sometimes at no benefit.

As an employee, you might work as a manager but budget cuts or convenience see you responsible for non-managerial work like answering phones or doing other tasks that aren’t necessarily managerial. Those non-managerial duties can creep up and become the bulk of a job, leading to the potential for overtime eligibility.

Contracting is a boon to some businesses who don’t need, or can’t have, full-time employees. But if a company keeps you in the same location, holds you accountable to its rules and schedule, or otherwise treats you like a normal employee, you’re possibly overtime-eligible.

Off the Clock — But Time for Work

There’s more to your overtime than misclassification. You could simply be required to be available from home, or before or after your job, for work-related tasks.

If you have any off-the-clock duties, and you’re eligible for overtime, you deserve every penny’s worth of time spent. This might mean meetings that take place before or after a shift, staying late but having to clock out even shortly before you actually leave, or clocking out for lunches you work during. Prep time, mandatory certifications, and training might count, too. Don’t get shorted by off-duty work.

This type of trouble happens at home, too. Phone calls, emails, and anything you’re required to do for work can count. If you’re compelled to do it, they might be required to pay the overtime for it.

These are just a few examples, but the idea applies to any employee, in any industry: if you work longer than expected, off-hours, or don’t have a set schedule, you could be eligible.

Keeping Employers Honest

The situation the case managers faced against Sunshine Health and Centene isn’t uncommon. Every industry’s employees are susceptible to the injustice of wage theft.

Even your best efforts might not deter a company from taking advantage of you. If you believe you missed out on well-earned compensation, consider what our attorneys in Tallahassee can do for you. Fill out our risk-free, no-cost case evaluation if you’re ready today.