There are many cases where employees are cheated out of their pay by their employers. A worker may see that his or her paycheck does not reflect all the hours worked, and is denied reimbursement from their boss.
Regardless of whether an employee is paid at an hourly or salaried rate, most employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek are entitled to overtime pay; however, some employers will illegally deny overtime to employees who have rightfully earned these premium wages. Only certain types of workers, such a managerial employees, are exempt from federal overtime requirements.
The overtime attorneys in Morgan & Morgan’s Columbus office have years of experience assisting workers who were denied proper compensation. We are familiar with the deceptive tactics employers may use to avoid paying employees for wages that have been lawfully earned.
To find out how our Columbus attorneys may be able to help you recover unpaid overtime, please fill out our free case evaluation form today.
Common Scams: How Employers Deny Overtime Compensation
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to provide most of their workers with overtime pay for any hours worked in excess of 40 in any given workweek. Overtime is generally calculated at one-and-a-half times the employee’s hourly rate.
Our overtime lawyers can analyze your employer’s pay practices to determine if your company is engaging in a scheme to wrongfully deny overtime wages.
In some cases, employers will deny overtime wages that are legally owed by:
Misclassifying Employees: For purposes of paying overtime wages, employees are classified into two categories: exempt and non-exempt. Companies are required to pay non-exempt employees overtime wages, while exempt employees are not entitled to overtime compensation. Only employees whose job duties satisfy one of the exemptions to federal overtime requirements are not entitled to overtime. Employers sometimes misclassify workers as exempt to wrongfully deny overtime pay.
For example, if your employer has classified you as a managerial employee who is not entitled to overtime, but your job duties are primarily non-managerial in nature, you may be entitled to overtime. Importantly, just because an employee has a “white collar,” salaried position does not mean he or she is exempt from federal overtime requirements. Many employers misclassify workers as exempt from overtime requirement in an illegal attempt to cut costs. If you believe that your employer has wrongfully classified you as an employee who is not entitled to overtime pay, our Columbus attorneys can review your job duties and responsibilities to determine whether you are eligible for overtime compensation.
Paying Fluctuating Workweek or “Chinese” Overtime”: An employer can use the fluctuating workweek method (also referred to as “Chinese” overtime) only if certain criteria are met. To use the fluctuating workweek method of calculating overtime, employees must be paid a fixed weekly salary, even if they work less than 40 hours in a given week. If your employer claims to be paying overtime under the fluctuating workweek method, but is reducing your pay for weeks where you work less than 40 hours, your employer may be violating federal wage and hour laws.
Manipulating Calculation of Hours Worked: If an employee who is paid on an hourly basis works hours that vary from week to week, the employer cannot typically average the hours over several weeks to illegally deny overtime. For example, if a worker put in 50 hours in one week and then 30 hours the following week, the employer may not average the hours over two weeks to deny overtime for the week the employee worked 50 hours.
Enforcing Company Policies that Illegally Reduce Hours Worked: Some employers establish policies specifically crafted to prohibit employees from working more than 40 hours on the clock. Examples of these policies include:
- A straightforward “no overtime” policy;
- Unpaid lunch breaks;
- “Off the clock” policies;
- Failure to pay for training or at-home work;
- Unpaid bag checks; and
- Failure to pay workers for time spent putting on or taking off safety gear.
Regardless of whether your company has such policies, if you work more than 40 hours in a given week, you may be entitled to overtime compensation. Our experienced Columbus overtime attorneys can review your company’s policies and procedures to determine if they satisfy federal wage and hour law.
How Can a Columbus Lawyer Help Me Recover Unpaid Wages?
If an employer does not properly compensate you for all hours worked, an attorney can help you file a claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act to recover unpaid wages. These claims may permit you to recover double the amount of damages you incurred as a result of the wage law violation, attorneys’ fees and related legal costs.
If your Columbus employer has willfully denied you overtime pay over a long period of time, our attorneys may be able to help you collect three years’ worth of unpaid overtime wages.
Can My Employer Fire Me for Filing a Claim?
It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you in any way for asserting your workplace rights. Your employer may not terminate or demote you, or reduce your pay or change your job duties simply because you have taken legal action to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.
If your employer retaliates against you, your attorney may be able to file a separate lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries, as well as an injunction ending the retaliatory action. An injunction is a court order requiring a person or company to do (or cease doing) a specific action. For example, if your employer fires you for filing an overtime lawsuit, your attorney can ask a court to issue an injunction requiring your employer to reinstate you to your prior position.
If your employer has neglected or refused to pay you overtime wages, you may have legal recourse. To learn how a Columbus overtime attorney may be able to help, fill out our free case evaluation form today.