Is It Illegal To Not Be Paid Overtime?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was enacted to make sure that workers are paid fair wages. This establishes minimum wage and sets the requirements for overtime to be paid at time-and-a-half your regular wage if you work more than 40 hours per week.

Some states have additional laws that may apply to minimum wage and overtime, so you need to familiarize yourself with the state and federal laws that apply.

Any worker who is not exempt qualifies for overtime. For the FLSA to apply to a business, the business must have more than $500,000 in annual sales or it must engage in interstate commerce. Therefore, the FLSA applies to almost all businesses so numerous employees are affected by the laws. There are some state laws that apply to overtime.

As an example, in some states overtime must be paid if you work more than 8 hours in a day but the total worked is less than 40 hours per week.

As an example, in some states if you work 12 hours two days a week, you are only working 24 hours per week, but you are still entitled to 8 hours overtime. That is 4 hours overtime for each day that you work.

You should always keep track of your hours worked, be familiar with your state and federal laws that apply to your pay, and then take notice of your paycheck. It is illegal not to pay overtime to non-exempt employees.

Usually, exempt employees are paid salary or commission, but not an hourly rate. Unfortunately, many employees don’t notice wage theft until it has gone on for a while. There is a time limit for recovering lost wages. According to the FLSA, you have two years to get a claim underway, but state laws may give you anywhere from 1 year to 3 years.

I Wasn’t Paid Overtime, What Can I Do?

If you should have received overtime for your work, but you were not paid overtime, then you will need to pursue a claim against your employer. This is called a complaint for wage and hour violations. This complaint is filed either in person or by mail.

You will send your complaint to the state Labor Commission or Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. You will need to include some precise details.

Information you must provide to file a wage and hour complaint:

  • The employee details, including your name, address, and phone number
  • The name of your employer, address, phone number, and kind of business operation
  • Job title and job description with details of work done
  • Payment information such as the hourly rate, the method of payment and pay frequency
  • Describe the alleged violations
  • Include the dates of the alleged violations

After your complaint has been filed, the proper office will investigate it. They will then determine if you suffered wage theft and if so, they will go to work to try to recover those lost earnings. They will contact you if they need more information and they will also contact your employer about the situation.

Evidence That You Will Need

You will need to provide copies of paystubs and copies of timesheets and timecards. You will also need to provide proof of your regular pay. This could be indicated in your employment contract or your employee handbook.

Be sure to keep any memos or emails from your employer. Statements from any coworkers who worked with you and who are familiar with your work schedule may also be beneficial. If you don’t have the supporting evidence that you need, your attorney will be able to help you.

How An Employment Law Attorney Can Help You

If you have suffered wage theft because your employer failed to pay you the overtime that you earned, you should enlist the help of an employment law attorney who handles wage theft claims.

There is a limited time for recovering wages in such situations, so time is of the essence. An attorney will be able to investigate your situation and gather the supporting evidence and documentation that you need for a successful claim.

To make sure your wage theft gets on the right track in a timely manner, complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page. The details of your employer not paying you overtime will be shared with an attorney who handles wage theft claims in your area. Get the help you need to get your claim on track.