Overtime can be very tiring, but most people will willingly do it for the extra pay it brings. Many times, just a few hours of overtime means a bill gets paid that would otherwise go into default, or you can finally make a purchase you have been holding out on. Of course, if your employer fails to pay for overtime, it can be a two-sided blow: not only do you miss out on the money you anticipated, but it undermines the time you put into working extra for the company.
However, if you are in such a situation, you may be able to sue your employer for overtime pay compensation. In this article, learn more about the specifics regarding what is required of employers regarding overtime, and how you can get the pay that you deserve.
Overtime Requirements for Employers
As set by the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are required to pay you extra for any amount of time worked over the standard 40 hours a week. This extra pay has to be equal to your normal hourly rate plus half (time and a half). For example, if you make $10 per hour at 40 hours a week, any overtime you work during that same week should be paid at $15 per hour.
In a perfect world, every employer would follow these regulations to the letter. Unfortunately, they do not. In fact, nearly $50 billion is lost per year\ because of wage theft (which includes overtime pay).
How You Can Sue for Overtime Pay Compensation
If you are not being paid the right amount for the overtime hours you have worked, you can sue your employer to get just compensation, however it takes time and effort.
The first thing to do is file a wage complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), where you will need to document:
- Your legal first and last name
- Your address, phone number, and the best way to contact you
- The name of the company where you work(ed)
- Where the company is located
- The company’s phone number
- The owner or manager’s name
- The type of work you did there
- How they normally paid you
- Additional information that may pertain to your claim (pay stubs, personal record of the hours you worked, etc.)
Types of Damages Your Employer May Be Required to Pay
Below is a breakdown and description of the types of ‘damages’ you are eligible to receive from your employer as a result of an overtime pay compensation lawsuit.
1. Unpaid Wages
The very first thing you are entitled to is compensation of unpaid overtime pay. The amount of which depends on how many overtime hours were worked, and if your employer only paid regular pay for those hours, or paid nothing at all.
For example: Say you make $10 an hour, and you worked 30 hours of overtime. If your employer paid you $10 per overtime hour (instead of the $15 they are required), the unpaid wages you get back will be the difference ($150). But if your employer failed to pay you at all for those overtime hours, you will get the full $450.
Not only are you entitled to overtime pay, but your employer may also be required to pay interest on your lack of pay, for what is called “liquidated damages.” If the employer is deemed to be at fault willfully, it is very possible that they will be required to pay liquidated damages in lieu of interest, which could result in you receiving nearly double the amount of unpaid wages.
In addition to remitting unpaid overtime wages and interest (or liquidated damages), many states will also require the employer to pay some sort of penalty for making you wait for your unpaid wages.
4. Attorney’s Fees
Lastly, if you win your overtime case, your employer will also be required to pay your attorney’s fees. After all, if they had paid you for working overtime like they should have, the attorney never would have been necessary.
Get Help from an Employment Attorney
Sometimes claiming unpaid wages can be a clear-cut situation and an easy path to follow, but that is not always the case. For these reasons, if you wish to sue your employer for unpaid overtime wages, it is generally recommended that your consult with an experienced employment attorney. Someone who knows what steps to take and how to defend your case can ensure that you get the compensation you deserve and will know what is precisely required of you and your employer.
Interested in securing your overtime pay compensation? Reach out to the employment law attorneys at The Brown Firm, PLLC. We will be happy to discuss your case with you and get you on the right path to re-claiming the overtime pay you are entitled to!