MY BOSS MAKES ME WORK “OFF-THE-CLOCK” What should I do?
My employer is constantly requiring us the work “off the clock” and not paying us overtime. What should I do? Emily K., Boldo
Wage and hour laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are designed to protect employees and ensure that they receive an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work. One area of the law that sometimes comes into dispute is overtime. The FLSA requires that employers pay time-and-a-half for overtime for the majority of employees. If you believe that your employer has not been paying you for your overtime, you should take the following steps:
Step One: Gather Information
First and foremost, you need to establish that you are a nonexempt employee. FLSA and other labor laws break employees into two categories: exempt and nonexempt. Employers are not required to pay overtime pay for exempt employees, such as outside sales representatives. However, the majority of employees are nonexempt, meaning that employers are required to pay overtime when an employee works more than 40 hours a week.
You should also collect and document information about your hours. Documentation is the crux of wage and hour lawsuits. Gather timesheets and make notes about any off-the-clock hours you’ve worked.
Step Two: Talk to Your Employer
After assembling your documentation, you should approach your employer. If you work for a larger company, you should go to your human resources (HR) department. Your HR department should verify the discrepancy.
Step Three: Consult a Lawyer
If your employer disputes the discrepancy, you should consult a wage and hour attorney as your next step. A lawyer can help you work out the details and explain your rights to you. Keep in mind that you have a two-year statute of limitations. This means that you can only wait two years to file a wage and hour lawsuit for lost wages.
What to Expect
Wage and hour lawsuits can be individual lawsuits or a wage and hour class action lawsuit, in which you and a group of other employees file a wage and hour lawsuit against the same employer. In most situations, a lawyer’s demand letter may be sufficient to get the overtime money, but other cases may require going to court to resolve the matter. A lawyer’s advice and guidance could be useful at every step of the process, regardless of what steps are ultimately necessary in your exact situation.
Nelson, Bryan & Cross regularly represents clients in FLSA cases. Give us a call if you have any questions.
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