Federal overtime laws such as the Fair Labor Standard Act require overtime to be paid when:
- An employee works over 40 hours in a one-week period
- The employee is not considered to be an exempt employee
Overtime pay entails “time-and-a-half”, or 1 ½ times the employee’s regular pay. So, if the employee usually works for $10/hour, they would be paid $15 when working overtime ($10 x 1 ½ = $15).
Exempt employees include a wide range of employees, including some retail employees, those working in the motion picture industry, transportation workers, and many others. Employers aren’t required to pay exempt employees overtime pay.
What Happens If Overtime Pay Is Withheld?
Withholding overtime pay is illegal if the employee is entitled to it. Failure to pay an employee their overtime pay as deserved is a considered a violation of federal laws and can lead to consequences such as:
- A civil lawsuit for damages (resulting in payment for lost wages, lost profits, etc.)
- Possible readjustment of management
- Possible injunction requiring the company to change their wage and hour policies
What If I Wasn’t Sure if I Was Entitled to Overtime Pay?
One of the main reasons why employees fail to receive overtime pay is that they don’t realize that they were actually entitled to pay. If you worked more than 40 hours a week and are not listed as exempt, you are entitled to time and a half pay. The list of exempt employees is somewhat extensive and may require the assistance of a legal professional to fully understand.
Generally speaking though, you should first inquire with your employer about overtime pay if you work over 40 hours a week. Any disputes will usually begin with an investigation with human resources. Violations may result in further legal actions such as a lawsuit aimed at recovering lost wages and profits.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Overtime Pay Laws?
Overtime pay is a very important aspect of employment and labor laws. You may need to hire an employment lawyer if you have any questions or concerns regarding overtime pay laws. Your attorney can help you understand how employment laws work, and how they can affect your particular legal situation. Also, in the even that you need to file a lawsuit, your attorney can be on hand to provide you with legal representation during trial.