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Too often, employers try to cut costs on wages and innocent employees are the ones who suffer financially as a result. When these cuts are illegal wage theft has occurred. Wage theft can occur in a variety of ways, but most often it comes in the form of not paying overtime. This is illegal, and employees do not have to stand for it.
If you feel you are being deprived of wages by an employer in Fort Myers, a wage and hour lawyer from Morgan & Morgan may be able to help. We understand the nuances of overtime regulations and are prepared to help Florida workers stand up to unfair employers.
The overtime attorneys in Morgan & Morgan’s Fort Myers office have years of experience assisting workers who were denied proper compensation. To find out how our attorneys may be able to help you recover unpaid overtime and other lost wages, please complete our case review form for a free evaluation of your claim.
How Employers Deny Employers Overtime
Wage theft can take a few different forms, and in some cases, it may not even seem like employers are doing something illegal. Some common forms of wage theft include:
Misclassifying Employees: Employees can be classified as non-exempt and exempt with regards to overtime. Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay. As such, at times employees will misclassify employees as exempt to avoid paying them a fair overtime wage. 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. This misclassification is a blatantly illegal attempt to cut costs.
Paying Fluctuating Workweek: An employer can use the fluctuating workweek method (also sometimes 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 pay is being reduced when working under 40 hours despite being told you’re being paid under the fluctuating workweek method, your employer could be violating the law.
Manipulating Calculation of Hours Worked: If your hours vary from week to week, you’re still owed proper pay for the overtime you did in a given week. 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 Policies to Illegally Reduce Hours Worked: Some employers will even mandate policies that prohibit employees from working overtime, convincing employees that they cannot be owed overtime. This can 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
- Failure to pay workers for time spent putting on or taking off safety gear
What An Attorney Can Do To Help
With so many different ways employers try to game the system and avoid paying employees a fair wage, it becomes more and more important for employees to know their rights. If they are not sure about if they are the victim of wage theft it may be time to contact an experienced wage & hour attorney. 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.
Morgan & Morgan Attorneys May Be Able to Help
If you have been denied overtime pay by your employer, you may have legal options. Morgan & Morgan has experienced wage & hour attorneys who understand the specifics of overtime law. To learn more about your options and how an attorney may be able to help, fill out our free case review form.