What Are Your Options if You Didn’t Receive Overtime Pay?
In an effort to cut costs many employers may deny their employees the overtime pay they deserve. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that guarantees workplace protections, including overtime pay for nonexempt employees. This means that if you work more than 40 hours a week, and you are a nonexpert employee, then your employer must pay you for that overtime at a rate of one and a half times your regular rate.
If you are one of the nonexempt employees and you have worked overtime but haven’t gotten paid, you may be wondering what to do next.
Reasons Your Employer May Be Denying You Overtime
Overtime laws are confusing so it is no surprise that employers use this to avoid paying you overtime. There are many tactics that employers use to get around paying their employees overtime. Here are some of the common excuses that employers use to deny overtime pay:
- You are a salaried employee
- You’re an independent contractor
- Overtime hours are compensable time
- You failed to get authorization to work overtime
However, salaried employees can still receive overtime and independent contractors need to meet certain requirements to qualify as such. The compensable time is the time for which an employee is entitled to compensation and is determined by the employee’s job requirements.
Options You Have if Your Employer Has Not Paid You Overtime
If your employer is wrongfully withholding payment for overtime hours you have to act quickly to protect your rights. There are several options that you have but you have to make sure you act quickly.
The very first step that you should take is to talk to your employer. It is completely possible that your employer didn’t mean to compensate you. If you believe that it is intentional then you may need to take legal action. Here are some options that you could do:
- File a Complaint: You can file a complaint to the U.S Department of Labor, Wage-Hour Division (WHD). By filing a complaint with the WHD they will start an investigation into your employer’s payment practices. This will determine if your employer is in compliance with the law. However, if you do this you cannot bring a private lawsuit against your employer if the Secretary of Labor brings a lawsuit on your behalf.
- File a Lawsuit: You can also sue your employer for unpaid overtime. It would be up to you to prove evidence that you worked more than 40 hours and show that you were not paid time and a half. If you are successful with your lawsuit then your employee will be required to reimburse you.