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Does Your Employer Owe You Overtime Wages?

July 8, 2021

Most employers are obligated to pay minimum wage and overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). However, the FLSA is full of nuance and not always easy to understand. 

At Grissom Miller Law Firm, we stand up for the rights of employees and help them secure the back-pay they are owed under the FLSA. As an employee, it’s reasonable to expect payment for the time you spend working. Yet, many employers try to get away with flagrant violations of the law by keeping poor (or falsified) records of hours worked and withholding required overtime pay. If your employer engages in this type of behavior, they could face serious legal repercussions and experienced employment attorneys can help hold them accountable. 

In this article, we’ll give a brief overview of federal overtime regulations and provide actionable advice for those owed overtime pay. Let’s start with an overview of the law that requires certain employers to pay overtime, the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

What is the FLSA?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulates minimum wage, overtime pay, and standards for employing youth. For the sake of this article, we are going to focus on the FLSA’s overtime pay requirements. The vast majority of public and private employers must pay non-exempt employees 1.5 times their regular pay for working more than 40 hours in a week. While that may seem simple enough, the FLSA establishes exactly which employers must comply with the law, which employees are to be paid overtime, and what is considered an average workweek. It’s worth looking at how the Act defines each requirement. 

Which Employers Must Comply With the FLSA?

The vast majority of employers must comply with FLSA overtime regulations. Businesses with a volume of $500,000 or more annually must comply with the FLSA. Regardless of dollar volume, hospitals and facilities that care for the sick, aged, mentally ill, or disabled (who reside on the premises) also must comply with overtime rules. Schools, colleges, and government agencies also must comply with the FLSA regardless of revenue. Finally, any business engaged in interstate commerce – whether producing goods or performing any activity related to goods in interstate commerce must also comply with the Act. 

Which Employees Are Eligible for Overtime Pay?

Employees that are non-exempt must be paid overtime. In general, exempt employees are those paid salaries, and not by the hour. According to the FLSA, executive, professional, administrative, computer, and outside sales employees can be classified as exempt from overtime pay. However, an employer who merely changes a job title to bypass the FLSA may be breaking the law. It is the tasks an employee performs that determines whether a role can be exempt – not the title. Employees must meet certain employment tests and earn a salary of at least $35,568 a year to be considered exempt. 

What is an Average Workweek? 

According to the FLSA, a workweek is a fixed and regular period of 168 hours or seven consecutive 24-hour periods. This means a part-time employee who works 40 hours over the course of 3 weeks (even if that is more time on the clock than usual) will not qualify for overtime pay under the FLSA. 

How Can You Determine If You Are Owed Overtime? 

If you are a non-exempt employee working for an employer who is covered by the FLSA, you must be paid overtime for working more than 40 hours in a week. If you are owed unpaid wages, you can sue your employer for unpaid wages, interest on those wages, and possibly even penalties (required by the law). To recover those wages, you can file a lawsuit or a claim with your state’s labor department. You can also file a claim individually or collectively (if other employees are also owed unpaid overtime wages). If your employer “willfully” withheld overtime pay, you may even be entitled to double the amount of your unpaid wages. 

It is important to note, though, that you typically have two years to file a claim under the FLSA after the wage violation occurs. If your employer “willfully” violated the FLSA, you have three years to file a claim. To show willful violation of the FLSA, employees will generally need to prove their employer knew of the FLSA requirements and intentionally refused to comply with the law. 

You Can Count on the Attorneys at Grissom Miller Law Firm

If you think you are owed overtime wages or your employer is not following FLSA regulations, our experienced employment attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve. We know that lawsuits can be overwhelming, especially when you are up against an employer. That’s why we are dedicated to educating clients and providing advice in terms you can understand – so that you know what is happening every step of the way. 
If you would like to find out whether you have a viable FLSA claim or just want to know if you are owed overtime pay, contact the attorneys at Grissom Miller today.