Wage & Hour/Overtime Claims
Have I been paid fairly for my work?
It is a fundamental principle of law that an employee should be paid fairly for the work he or she has done for an employer. We help employees who may have been illegally denied their right to fair compensation.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs an employer’s duty, and an employee’s right to receive fair wages. With some exceptions, if you have worked over 40 hours in any given week, your employer should have paid you your regular rate of pay for the first 40 hours and 1.5 times your regular rate of pay for each hour after 40. For most people, this is true no matter what your job title is, how you are paid (i.e. hourly, salary, by commission, by job completed) or what your employer may have told you about overtime.
Florida and Federal laws require employers to pay their employees fairly for the work they have performed. However, it is very common for a company to fail to pay its workers the compensation they have earned. This is either done intentionally, for instance, by leading an employee to believe that he or she is not eligible to be paid extra for overtime hours, or it is done unintentionally by an honest employer who is one of the many employers who do not understand the numerous wage and hour and overtime laws and regulations.
Some common reasons why workers are not paid, not paid fairly or not paid appropriate overtime wages are:
- an employer misclassifies an employee’s job title by telling the employee that because of his or her job title, such as manager or some professional designation, he or she is not entitled to overtime pay
- an employer tells an employee that he or she is paid on salary (i.e. a set amount every week or twice a month) and therefore is not eligible for overtime pay
- an employer claims overtime pay is not owed because the overtime was not requested or approved in advance
- an employer credits an employee who worked overtime with comp time or carries the hours into the following week instead of paying overtime pay
- an employer pays the employee only the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a week and gives different excuses such as the employee could or should have finished the work within 40 hours in a week
- an employee worked during his or her lunch break in some capacity but was not paid for that time
- an employer tells an employee that work he or she has done is considered “off the clock" and therefore the employee is not entitled to overtime pay
- the employer asks an employee to do some work prior to or after his or her shift to open or shut down for the day but does not count that towards the work hours
- an employee is not paid the commissions owed to him or her
- an employee is paid less than minimum wage
These scenarios are very common in the work place. However, they all represent situations where an employer may indicate to an employee that he or she is not entitled to overtime pay or an employee assumes he or she is not entitled to overtime pay. What the employer is telling the employee or what the employee may assume is likely incorrect. In these situations and many more, an employee is falsely led to believe that work he or she has put in does not entitle him or her to overtime pay. If you think you may be entitled to wages or overtime pay that you did not receive, it is important to investigate further. We invite you to contact us to analyze your case and learn more about your rights.
If you have been paid unfairly for your work, what are you entitled to?
If you think your boss has not paid you fairly for your work, you may be right as it happens quite often and sometimes when neither the employee nor the employer initially realizes it. However, your job and your compensation are your livelihood, so it is important that you understand your rights immediately.
There are exceptions to the general rule that workers are entitled to overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 in a week. Also, there is a time limit (called a statute of limitations) to making a claim for wages that you are owed from past work. Generally, you can only make a claim for owed wages for two years from the date you make your claim (or three years if the employer’s conduct was deliberate or reckless). Therefore, if you think you may have been cheated out of wages for your work, it is important to contact an attorney immediately so your claim can be investigated and pursued quickly.
If you have not been paid the fair wages to which you were entitled, you can recover the wages you should have been paid plus what is called liquidated damages, which are typically an additional amount equal to the wages you were owed. For instance, if you were entitled to $1,500 in overtime wages that your employer did not pay you, you may be able to obtain that amount plus an additional $1,500 for your wage and hour/overtime claim for a total of $3,000. The law also allows you to recover the costs of your lawsuit and your attorney’s fees so the case does not cost you anything because your employer has to pay all of the fees and costs.
If you think you have not been paid fairly for your work, what should you do?
If you suspect you have not been paid fairly for your work, it can be difficult to raise the issue with your employer for fear of retaliation, being fired or just creating a difficult work environment. Plus, even if your employer has every intention of compensating you for your work, he or she may not understand the wage and hour and overtime regulations. What he or she thinks is legal and fair may not be.
If you have additional questions or want to learn more about whether you were treated fairly, we invite you to contact our firm to discuss your case, learn your rights and recover the wages that are owed to you. We also invite you to visit our Frequently Asked Questions page to see answers to common wage and hour/overtime law questions and read about more common situations where fair wages have been withheld from employees.
Pursuing your wage and hour/overtime claim will not cost you anything as the consultation is free and we only get paid if and when we are successful in bringing your claim (this is known as taking a case on a contingency basis). Even then, our costs and fees are typically paid by your employer.