Posted In: Employment Law

Does your employer owe you overtime pay?

One of the major issues in American labor law right now is the protection of employee rights with regard to receiving overtime pay. The practice of illegally failing to pay workers overtime pay that is required by law has been increasingly surfacing in US Courts. The root of this problem is both employers and employees failing to understand Federal and State overtime laws.

Under the New York Labor law and FLSA, all “non-exempt” employees are entitled to overtime pay. Unfortunately, it is common practice for many employers to unlawfully evade overtime requirements by misclassifying employees as exempt “executives” or “professionals,” even though the employees’ responsibilities would not entitle them to such a classification. Therefore, if you work over forty (40) hours per week you are likely entitled to time and one-half overtime for every hour worked over forty (40) hours each week, even if you are paid a salary. You may also be entitled to liquidated or double damages for overtime violations.

Overtime laws

Statutes provide that overtime must be paid to employees who meet certain conditions. These criteria usually include working in excess of a set amount of time, which can be either daily (over 8 hours in a day), or weekly (over 40 hours in a week). The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets forth Federal regulations, which states may have stricter criteria. While a state can require higher thresholds (such as a higher minimum wage), if the state requirements are lower than Federal, the Federal regulations will apply.

When workers are not paid the full amount for all the hours they worked (often either because they are improperly listed as ineligible for overtime, or because they were simply underpaid according to their employment arrangements), they may have rights under the FLSA. In 2011, there were more than 7,000 such lawsuits filed in federal court claiming these violations. A recent Bloomberg story on wage and hour lawsuits estimated that companies may be paying out over a billion dollars per year to resolve these cases.

If you are uncertain about whether you should be receiving overtime pay, you may want to discuss your rights with a New York attorney. You are eligible for a lawsuit even if you are paid off the books. Call the attorneys at Slater Slater Schulman LLP at (800) 251-6990 for a free consultation today. We are here to assist you.

Time and a half

Under Federal law, employees are generally entitled to overtime pay equal to 1.5 times their regular wage when they work more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. These regulations do not apply, however, under certain conditions. For example, there are certain people that are “exempt” from overtime laws; these include people making over a certain dollar amount, salaried (versus hourly) workers, and workers in certain administrative, professional and executive roles.

Overtime laws, with certain exceptions, do NOT apply to salaried employees and jobs where the main duties are administrative, professional or executive. If your job does not fall into one of these three categories, you may be eligible for overtime pay. But employees should be aware that even if they have a fancy title, when their job responsibilities are not in line with “administrative”, “professional” or “executive” positions, they may still be entitled to overtime benefits. For example, if a doorman has a title “Executive Manager of Customer Relations”, one may look at his job responsibilities and evaluate whether or not they should really be exempt from FLSA protections.

Hourly Employees

Employees that get paid by the hour must be paid time-and-one-half for all hours worked over forty (40) hours per week. For example, if your hourly rate is $10 per hour, you should be paid $15 per hour for each hour worked over 40 hours that week. If you are paid a regular hourly rate, rather than time and one-half, you are entitled to the difference between what you were paid for overtime hours worked and what you should have been paid. Also, it is illegal for your company to offer you “comp time” or time off instead of paying your proper overtime rate.

Salaried Employees

Salaried employees are often taken advantage of and led to believe that they can be made to work overtime for no extra pay. Many salaried employees earning less than $100,000 per year are entitled to overtime pay. Employers often misinterpret the law or deliberately underpay salaried employees. For example, your company may give you a title such as “vice president” or “assistant manager” in an attempt to avoid paying you overtime. However, your title does not dictate whether or not you are eligible to receive overtime pay.

Common Victims of Overtime Wage Violations are:

  • Failure to Pay Construction Workers Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Restaurant Workers Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Drivers Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Security Guards Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Delivery Men Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Repair Men Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Call Center Employees Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Telemarketers Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Back Office Financial Employees Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Account Executives Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Analysts Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Researchers Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Customer Service Representatives Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Computer Help Desk Employees Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Trade Support Employees Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Assistant Managers Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Airport Employees Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Associates at Retail Stores Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Nurses Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Home Health Attendants Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Car Washers Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Stock Brokers Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Dry Cleaning Employees Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Mortgage Brokers and Loan Officers Overtime
  • Failure to Pay Service Industry Employees Overtime

Please be advised that you are entitled to protection under the New York Labor Law and FLSA even if you are paid off the books.

New York Labor Law Attorneys

If you believe that you have been wrongfully denied overtime pay, you are entitled to a free, confidential consultation with a New York Labor Law Attorney. The attorneys at Slater Slater Schulman LLP are here to help. We represent clients throughout the New York metro region, including all 5 boroughs of NYC (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island) and Long Island (both Nassau and Suffolk county). Call us today at (800) 251-6990 or enter your information below, and we will be happy to discuss your legal rights and how we can work to protect them.

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