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What to Do if an Employer Fails to Pay Overtime Compensation

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Jeffrey Phillips with Phillips Law Group.

What to Do if an Employer Fails to Pay Overtime Compensation
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In general, if you work more than 8 hours a day or more than 40 hours in one workweek, your employer could be required to pay overtime wages. However, it should be noted that the legal requirement to pay overtime varies from state to state and depends on your status as an exempt or non-exempt employee. For example, exempt employees do not have to be paid overtime. However, if your employer is required to pay overtime based on the laws of your state and they fail to do so, you could be eligible to file an overtime pay lawsuit.

It’s important to note that a statute of limitations or time limit exists regarding these lawsuits. The time limit varies depending on the state where you live, but in general is three years from the date of the most recent overtime pay violation. If concern about employer retaliation is a factor in your decision to file or not file an overtime pay claim, it might help to note that employers are prohibited from taking retaliatory action against an employee for citing wage violations. If an employer attempts to terminate an employee for filing an overtime pay lawsuit, they could be held liable for wrongful termination.

If you are a non-exempt employee and your employer fails to pay overtime wages, you can file a wage and hour claim with the Department of Labor.

The first thing the Department of Labor will do after an employee files a wage and hour claim will be to substantiate the employee’s exempt/non-exempt status. Depending on your state, the process from here on could differ slightly. In some states, the employee and employer might be required to attend a mediated conference to try and work toward a fair agreement. If a settlement cannot be reached via a mediated conference with the employer, the case may then go on to be tried in court.

If not done already, it’s a good idea to involve a labor attorney to represent your case.

This is especially important if it seems likely that an employer will not cooperate of their own volition. This also ensures that an experienced professional is present to handle the case if mediation does not resolve the dispute and the issue must be taken to court. A labor attorney can advise a wronged employee and facilitate the accumulation of witnesses and evidence to support the employee’s case. If your employer is decided to have wrongfully denied your overtime pay, they will be required to pay back those wages, often with interest, and might even be entitled to double the amount owed if the employer is decided to have been wilfully unreasonable in their denial of your claim.

To learn more about overtime compensation or to learn what kind of legal action you are eligible to take if an employer has denied you overtime pay, seek legal counsel.

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