- posted: Nov. 10, 2022
- Wage and Overtime Claims
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires the vast majority of American businesses to pay nonexempt employees one-and-a-half times their normal hourly wage when they work overtime. Under this law, the overtime premium is mandated when workers are on the job more than 40 hours in a week. A company that violates this law could be forced to provide back overtime pay and might be subject to additional penalties.
Omega Drywall in Katy learned this lesson the hard way as the company was forced to pay 55 employees a total of $55,039 in back wages it owed them for unpaid overtime. The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, which is responsible for enforcing FLSA rules, found that Omega improperly classified employees as independent contractors (who are exempt from overtime rules) and kept inadequate records of the time workers spent on the job.
This case highlights the ways in which employers may try to deny workers of their rightful overtime pay. If a business seeks to provide an overtime premium by claiming you are an independent contractor, you should understand what that classification means. An independent contractor has a considerable amount of discretion over how they perform their job. Therefore, if the company dictates when, where and how you perform your work, you likely are an employee entitled to overtime, rather than an independent contractor.
Another way in which a business might try to evade paying overtime is by misclassifying employees as executive, administrative or professional employees, all of whom are exempt from the overtime mandate of the FLSA. Executives have the authority to manage, direct and make employment decisions regarding subordinate employees. Administrative employees, who mainly perform managerial tasks, must be given some leeway in how they perform their duties; and professionals perform work requiring advanced knowledge or creativity. In addition, even these employees must receive time-and-a-half if they earn less than $684.00 per week.
Companies might also thwart employees’ rights to overtime pay by failing to keep accurate records, whether they do it intentionally or negligently. Losing time records or failing to keep them in the first place leaves excess hours spent on the job undocumented. Refusing to acknowledge time employees spend performing work duties before they have a chance to clock in or after they are required to clock out might also hide overtime labor.
If your employer hasn’t paid you for some or all of your overtime, an employment attorney can take steps to help you pursue what you are owed under FLSA and the Texas Payday Law.
The Law Offices of David C. Holmes, located in Houston, represents workers in matters arising from unpaid wages and overtime. To schedule a free initial consultation, please call 713-586-8862 or contact us online.