Of all employment law disputes, including harassment and discrimination cases, wage and hour disputes are the most common brought forth by employees. In wage and hour disputes, it is the overtime pay rate and an employer not crediting overtime hours properly that are often the source of the dispute.
While each state may have their own state laws concerning overtime wages, all states must adhere to the federal laws outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA.” ) Wage and hour disputes specifically relate to the hours worked or pay owed from the hours worked beyond the standard work week of 40 hours are called overtime pay disputes.
Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees working beyond 40 hours per week are entitled to 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for the subsequent hours.
Common Employer Actions That Cause An Overtime Dispute
Sometimes an employer may make an inadvertent error in calculating, classifying, and crediting an employee with the correct overtime pay and/or hours. I’m such cases, most employers will promptly correct the error and credit the employee appropriately after it’s brought to their attention. However, there are cases where employers negligently or intentionally avoid paying overtime and refuse to correct it with back pay. Overtime disputes can arise from the following actions:
• Paying a worker at regular pay rates versus the overtime pay rate they’re entitled to be paid by law.
• Miscalculation or not crediting an employee with the correct number of hours worked.
• Claiming an employee is exempt from overtime pay or otherwise not due to the appropriate pay.
• Tax and administrative issues.
• Failure to pay an employee back wages.
Resolving Overtime Pay Disputes
Again, if an inadvertent error was made by the employer, then they’re likely to promptly correct their mistake without legal actions. However, if the employer refuses to correct the overtime pay, then there are several courses of action, including:
• Agency investigations, particularly if the dispute also involves harassment or discrimination.
• Contacting the employer’s dispute resolution or HR departments.
• Legal proceedings in court.
If other employees have suffered a similar overtime pay dispute with the same employer, you may also have an option for a class action lawsuit, whereby you and the other employees would bring a legal case against the employer as a group.
Do I Need An Overtime Pay Lawyer?
Note that there are statutes of limitations in all areas of wage law, meaning that it’s imperative to begin to collect evidence and make a claim as soon as possible to best protect your rights.
If your employer fails to act after you’ve alerted them of your wage dispute, then you may need to hire an overtime pay lawyer to explore your rights and the appropriate course of action to take next.
Class action lawsuits and individual lawsuits clearly require extensive research and display of facts. However, an experienced lawyer can provide invaluable representation and legal advice through all phases of your overtime wage dispute, whether that’s mediation or attending a court hearing.
Most attorneys offer a free consultation to discuss your case, and it’s always prudent to seek out as much help and information as you can if you feel you haven’t been paid appropriately by your employer.