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Overtime Wage Violation
Many jobs throughout the state of Texas require that employees work well beyond the traditional 40 hours.
In Texas, non-exempt employees are eligible to receive overtime pay for any work they complete over 40 hours under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Unfortunately, many employers will use a number of bad faith tactics to avoid paying employees what they are owed. The worst part of this is that employees often take time from their families and loved ones to work for an employer who refuses to follow the law and pay overtime wages.
If your employer has failed to pay you for overtime, know that you do have rights. An experienced and dedicated overtime wage attorney can help you recover the compensation that is owed to you.
The McAllen wage litigation attorney, Ryan C. Solis, has the skills and determination to help you with your wage claim. For more information and a FREE case consultation, call (956) 686-9600 today.
About the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA)
The Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) outlines the federal provisions on hours and wages in the workplace. The guidelines cover the following areas:
- Lunch breaks.
- Overtime compensation.
The FLSA provides the legal standards for the number of hours an employee can work in a given period. Minimum wage, recordkeeping, and child labor laws are additional topics discussed.
The FLSA also stipulates that non-exempt employees who work over the 40-hour limit in a given workweek must be compensated accordingly. Pay, salary, and price-work wages are all affected by these guidelines.
Do I Have Wage Protections?
The Department of Labor (DOL) structures how wages should be calculated and how overtime rates should be organized.
Not all employees are guaranteed the state and/or federal wage provisions. Exemptions to the guidelines do exist. The following employees may NOT be subject to the traditional wage and hour laws:
- Administrative positions
- Professional employees
- Executive employees
- Those involved in a collective bargaining agreement
- Public sector employees
- Independent contractors
Non-exempt employees must be paid according to the overtime “one and one-half rule,” which is essentially that any hours worked over 40 must be paid at 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate.
Work hours can include instances of an employee performing a job task or duty, even if they are not at the workplace. To be classified as on-duty for working hours, the employee should be on duty at their place of work or at some other premise which their employer has instructed them to be working at.
The work-week is defined as seven consecutive, whole days. Employers must refrain from associating the workweek with their company’s pay schedule. Thus, the manner in which hours and wages should be addressed is through the measure of a workweek.
The FLSA covers certain areas of employment including:
Wage and Hour Laws
Wage and hour laws serve to defend the earnings of the employee. Not all employers act fairly when it comes to paying their employees and may employ bad faith tactics to undercut the value of their work. Acts of bad faith may affect minimum wage, tips, overtime, and meal/ rest breaks.
Abusing “hours worked”, other owed compensation, and pay scheduling may come under state and/or federal laws. You should seek the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney if you feel that your employer is not handling your hours or wages in an appropriate fashion.
Minimum Wage Laws
No employee should be paid less than the federal minimum wage. Should the local or state minimum wage exceed the federal minimum, employees are guaranteed the higher rate. Or, if both parties have decided upon a wage rate higher, and the agreement is written in an employment contract, no deviation from this wage can be made without repercussions.
For employees who are paid tips, a reduced hourly minimum of $2.13 is permitted by regulation. This is so long as that when combined with tips, the wage equals or surpasses the state minimum wage. If the minimum wage is not met at the reduced tip wage, employers have a duty to make up that pay to you.
Traditionally, the overtime rate is 150% the average pay rate. Unfortunately, the state also does not express provisions on mandated lunch or rest breaks during the workday for exempt workers.
Violations and Penalties
The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor (DOL) enforces rules and regulations for the protection of all employees. Employers who do not abide by these standards will be warned by the WHD before facing any legal repercussions.
Minority groups including immigrants, women, and the youth are at greatest risk of theft of wages. As per the Texas Payday Law, the Workforce Commission permits claims for such violations to be filed within a two-year time frame.
Damages That May Pursued in an Overtime Claim
There is a particular order of how damages, or lost wages, can be compensated.
The following is a sequence of how damages are issued to employees who have been deprived of their earnings:
- Unpaid Wages. The first item compensated is unpaid wages. Those who have grounds for a legal claim will be awarded the amount their employer deprived them of. This includes average hourly pay and overtime premium.
- Interest. Next, the employee will receive payment on the interest applied to wages unpaid. Each state has its varying interest rates. If not interest, one might pursue “liquidated damages.” Such damages are awarded when the employee has not acted in “good faith.”
- Penalties. Some states employ additional penalties to the owed damages. Such penalties will be awarded after wages and interest are assigned.
- Attorney’s Fees. If your claim is successful, the guilty party must also compensate you for the costs of your lawyer fees.
Common Overtime Violations
A majority of overtime violations fall under the following circumstances:
- Errors in identifying those exempt.
- Improperly counting hours worked.
- Errors in Identifying Those Exempt
Those who are not exempt from state and federal wage laws may suffer by being wrongly classified. Situations in which this error is made include:
- Making managers exempt even though they prescribe to traditional employee duties.
- Incorrectly classifying employees as “white-collar” although their jobs do not entail such standards.
- Issuing pay by weekly-basis rather than a salary that pertains to hours worked.
- Irregularities in docking and unpaid suspension.
- Issuing less than the minimum on weekly salaries.
- Improperly Counting Hours Worked
Sometimes the employer may make errors on the hourly rate or overtime premium. Instances of failure to count hours include:
- Leaving out some wages, commissions, or extra shifts in total hours worked.
- Failure to implement bonuses given in the calculation of wage per hourly rate.
A Trustworthy Overtime Attorney to Help You Recover Compensation
Employees who feel that they are being paid incorrectly or unfairly should take action to remedy such injustices. Every individual deserves fair pay.
The best first step is to address your concerns with your employer. You can best support your claim to compensation with proof of your hours worked. If they are still not cooperating, taking legal action may be an option.
Employees concerned about their wages should contact the DOL and ask about the process of pursuing wages through the state administrative process. The organization should provide you with instructions on filing and documentation needed.
If you would like more insight into your employee rights, it is best to speak with an overtime and wage attorney. It can be intimidating to take legal action against your boss in fear of the repercussions. Know that you have rights and individual protection.