Businesses and employers are legally required to pay workers a regular rate for all non-overtime work hours. When employees work more than the standard rate, they must be paid at a premium overtime wage.
Unfortunately, some businesses and corporations do not operate in their employees’ best interests. If you are owed unpaid overtime from your employer, you may be able to file a legal claim to recover the money that you are due.
In many cases, workers can pursue unpaid overtime settlements, unpaid wages, and interest on the withheld amount. In some instances, the law requires businesses to pay additional penalties for unpaid wages.
You should not have to forego the money that you are owed for hours that you have worked. If you believe that you have a valid unpaid overtime claim, reach out to the accomplished team at Morgan & Morgan.
Our skilled lawyers can handle any type of unpaid overtime case and secure the settlement or verdict that you deserve. To arrange a free consultation regarding your unpaid overtime case, fill out the easy-to-use contact form on the Morgan & Morgan website.
In the United States, federal law defines a standard workweek as 40 hours. If you have worked more than that time in a single week, any additional hours require overtime payment.
In most instances, the overtime pay rate is time-and-a-half. This means that one overtime hour is worth 150% of your regular hourly pay rate.
Employers are not permitted to average your work hours across multiple weeks. Consider the following example:
Suppose that you worked 30 hours one week and then worked 50 hours the following week. In a case like this, your employer would be required to pay time-and-a-half on ten hours the second week.
Even though you would have worked an average of 40 hours each week, you would still be owed overtime payments.
Some states have further specified overtime laws and statutes. If you have experienced withheld wages or insufficient payments, speak with a knowledgeable employment lawyer in your state.
Morgan & Morgan has more than 800 trial-ready attorneys nationwide. Our firm can handle even the most complex cases of unpaid overtime. We have the experience to recover considerable unpaid overtime settlements for our clients.
Who Counts as an Employee?
It is important to note that not every type of worker qualifies for overtime payments. Your eligibility for overtime will depend on the laws in your state, your position, and your categorization.
The rules for overtime requirements are detailed in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In general, a company is required to adhere to these fair labor regulations if they have at least $500,000 of revenue annually.
If the company you work for is too small to qualify, you may be unable to pursue unpaid overtime settlements. This is because you would not be covered by these fair labor regulations.
The category of “employee” is required for the person to receive overtime pay. Not every worker in the United States is considered to be an employee.
If your work is categorized differently, you may not be eligible for overtime payments. Some of the exempt categories of workers include:
- Independent contractors
- Computer specialists who earn above a certain hourly wage
- Workers at seasonal businesses
- Workers in certain religious and nonprofit contexts
- Newspaper deliverers
- Workers on small farms
- Some criminal investigators
- Certain childcare providers
To determine whether you are entitled to overtime payments, speak with a qualified employment attorney. Those who are protected under the FLSA can pursue unpaid overtime settlements with the help of a legal professional.
Many U.S. citizens face financial difficulties due to insufficient wages. Some low-paying positions lack proper sick leave, paid time off, parental leave, and health insurance.
These financial challenges are exacerbated when an employer withholds the money that employees have rightfully earned. Employees who work over the standard number of hours per week are legally owed premium overtime payments.
When tightfisted companies withhold overtime payments, they are in violation of wage-and-hour laws. Withholding appropriate pay is a wrongful action known as “wage theft.”
Wage theft happens when a business wrongfully takes earnings from its workers. Even if this type of theft happens in small increments, the costs for workers can add up.
For many years, greedy employers would boost their bottom lines by underpaying for labor. This type of theft was rarely punished, and businesses were left unaccountable.
Fortunately, shifting labor statutes and experienced employment lawyers have begun to change this. When employees are the victims of wage theft, they can hold their employers accountable by pursuing unpaid overtime settlements.
Contacting a trusted employment lawyer will help you to determine the best path forward. It is vital to hold thieving corporations accountable for their actions.
Common Examples of Damages in Unpaid Overtime Settlements
“Damages” is a term used to describe monetary compensation paid to the victims of wrongdoing. Unpaid overtime settlements usually involve the business paying damages to the worker.
The amount that you can secure through an unpaid overtime suit will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Damages in these cases usually fall into a few categories.
These categories are unpaid wages, interest, penalties, and legal fees.
This type of damages is intended to compensate the victim for the wages that they earned but were denied. When an employee successfully pursues an unpaid overtime settlement, the court will likely rule that they must be given the money they are owed.
This amount will include overtime premiums that were previously withheld. When an employer has paid regular rates for overtime hours, the victim will receive the difference between their standard pay and overtime rate.
Hiring a skilled employment attorney can help you to recover the wages that you are rightfully owed.
Employees who are victims of wage theft can also pursue interest on the unpaid wages that they are due. State laws determine the amount of interest that is applicable to unpaid wages.
This functions to discourage business owners from stealing from their workers. In lieu of interest, you may be able to secure “liquidated damages.” This amount is predetermined by federal wage laws.
When an employer acts in bad faith and purposefully underpays workers, they may have to pay liquidated damages.
In some states, corporations who engage in wage theft are required to pay additional penalties. These penalties are owed in addition to previously unpaid wages.
For instance, California requires corporations that have stolen from their employees to pay damages for a “waiting time.” This penalty is equal to 30 days of the workers’ regular pay rate.
After filing a successful unpaid overtime suit, the employer is also typically required to cover the claimant’s legal fees. They can also be held accountable for other costs associated with the case.
To determine the specific value of your case, speak with an accomplished employment attorney at Morgan & Morgan. Our team has the skills and experience to get justice for victims of wage theft.
Other Common Examples of Wage Theft
Unpaid overtime is only one example of corporate wage theft. There are many ways that a company can increase its profits by stealing time and wages from employees.
For instance, meals and breaks are often required for workers. To qualify as a meal or break, the time must be completely free of work-related duties.
If a worker is required to take a phone call on their lunch break, for instance, their business is legally required to compensate them for that time. When employers fail to pay for labor, wage theft has occurred.
Other common examples of wage theft include:
- Inaccurate tracking of work hours
- Stealing the cost of commute and work-related travel time
- Delaying the provision of a final paycheck
- Withholding payment for holiday, vacation, and sick leave
- Inappropriate deductions from wages
There are many ways that employers can withhold money from their workers. If you have been the victim of wage theft, do not hesitate to seek justice.
At Morgan & Morgan, we believe that workers deserve fair pay for their labor. When tightfisted corporations illegally withhold overtime payment, they should be held accountable.