Working for an unfair employer can feel endlessly frustrating. There are too many employers and companies that look to cut costs to keep profits flowing, and have no problem doing it at the expense of their employees. That can mean doing additional work and not seeing pay.
Employers may intimidate you into not taking legal action against them, threatening your job. But you have legal options in cases like these. St. Petersburg employees deserve pay for the overtime they have worked, and if you aren’t getting that pay, Morgan & Morgan has lawyers in the St. Petersburg area that may be able to help you.
The overtime attorneys in Morgan & Morgan’s St. Petersburg 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 Overtime
Frustratingly enough, some of the ways employers try to deny their workers compensation can be subtle and difficult to spot and report. All of them, though, are illegal.
Some of the most common methods employers use 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; and
- 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 you’re unsure whether you 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.
Contact Morgan & Morgan Today
The working people of St. Petersburg must be paid for the work they do, period. Employers use these methods in the hopes that you won’t know that they’re illegal. But they are, and a Morgan & Morgan attorney may be able to help you recover those wages.
Don’t let your missed pay build up over time. Contact Morgan & Morgan and fill out our free, no-obligation case review form to learn more.