What can I do if I’ve been denied overtime?
If you have been denied overtime, you will need to file a complaint with your local Department of Labor office. If the Department of Labor cannot find a resolution to this issue, you may need to file an overtime lawsuit against your employer.
How Can I Prove Unpaid Overtime?
Of course, when you file an unpaid overtime lawsuit, you will need strong evidence to prove your case. The kind of evidence will depend on the specifics of your case. However, in most cases, you may be able to prove unpaid overtime by:
- Collecting testimonies of co-workers who worked the same shifts as you
- Providing notes you took during your shift (for example, client progress notes if you are a health care worker)
- Providing some job records such as your call logs
- Providing electronic records of your arrival and departure time, especially if your employer uses an electronic time management system
- Providing surveillance footage showing when you clocked in and out of work
What Are Some Tactics Employers Use to Deny Overtime Pay?
Rogue employers use different tactics to deny their employees overtime pay they are entitled to. For example, your employer might do what is commonly referred to as “wage averaging.” Here is how it works:
Under normal circumstances, you are entitled to overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours in a particular workweek. The overtime pay is usually time and a half your regular wage. However, knowing that you may be entitled to overtime, your employer might decide to add all the hours worked and divide them by the number of weeks worked to obtain the average hours worked.
For example, if you worked 75 hours in the first week, your employer might only assign you 5 hours of work the following week. Therefore, if you get paid every two weeks, the employer will obtain the total hours worked (80) and divide it by the number of weeks worked (2) to arrive at 40 hours worked each week.
But this is wrong because averaging your hours means you will lose your right to overtime pay for the extra hours you worked during the first week. Therefore, your employer will make it look like you worked the usual 40 hours in both weeks, which is not true.
Other tactics employers use include:
- Asking employees to work off the clock
- Offering a salary instead of an hourly wage
- Requiring employees to work during their unpaid breaks
- Classifying employees as exempt when they are not
What Damages Can I Claim From an Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit?
If you win your unpaid overtime lawsuit, you may be able to claim unpaid wages. This includes the standard wage you would have earned and the unpaid overtime. Depending on the nature of your case, you may also be able to recover liquidated damages.
If your employer was grossly negligent, the court might order them to pay a penalty in addition to the unpaid wages. The penalty award will also depend on the specifics of your case and the jurisdiction. For example, if you file an unpaid overtime lawsuit in California and win, you may be able to recover a ‘waiting time’ penalty of up to 30 days of your unpaid wages. Lastly, your employer will pay your attorney fees, including the cost of pursuing the case.
How Far Back Can You Claim Unpaid Overtime?
In most cases, you can claim unpaid overtime for up to two years. However, if the court determines that your employer acted “willfully” by denying you overtime, you may be allowed to collect up to three years’ worth of unpaid overtime.
Am I Obligated to Work Overtime?
You are not obligated to work overtime. However, your employer has the right to fire you if you refuse to work overtime. Unfortunately, Federal labor laws do not mention how many overtime hours you can work a week. They only mention that you are entitled to overtime pay as long as you work more than 40 hours a week.
Does My Employer Owe Me Overtime If I Work More Than 8 Hours a Day?
Under federal laws, you can only claim overtime if you work more than 40 hours a week. Federal laws are not concerned about how many hours you work a day. That said, states like California have clearer rules about this issue.
In California, you are entitled to overtime pay if you work more than 8 hours a day. Therefore, before filing an unpaid overtime lawsuit, it is important that you understand what the state and federal laws say about your situation.
Where Can I Find Help With Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit?
When you have worked so hard to take care of yourself and your loved ones, the last thing you expect is to check your bank account balance only to discover that you did not get paid what you were entitled to. This can be frustrating and heartbreaking, especially in these tough times. If that is what you or your loved one is going through, Morgan and Morgan unpaid overtime attorneys can fight for you.
Our attorneys are familiar with the tactics rogue employers use to deny paying what they owe. As a result, we can fight for you or your loved one, ensuring you receive the overtime pay you deserve and more.
Did you know that Morgan and Morgan files the most employment disputes in the United States? If you or your beloved has been denied overtime pay, do not suffer in silence; fill out our free case evaluation form to get started. We might be able to hold your employer accountable for their actions and secure the compensation you need and deserve.