Don’t Let Your Employer Cheat You Out of Overtime Pay
If your employer has cheated you out of overtime wages you may feel intimidated and helpless, as if there is nothing you can do to get your money. You may be afraid that if you take action, you will be fired or demoted and that it will hurt your chances of getting another job. When employers cheat employees out of overtime pay, they are breaking the law, and you have a legal right to compensation without retaliation.
Federal law requires employers to pay overtime wages
The Fair Labor Standards Act, and many state laws, set standards for overtime wages. Overtime is any work performed in excess of 40 hours during one week. By law, you are entitled to one and a half times your normal hourly rate for all hours worked over 40 hours in one work week.
For example, if your hourly wage is $10 per hour and you work a 45 hour week, you are entitled to $10 per hour for the first 40 hours and $15 per hour for the five hours of overtime, totaling $475.
How companies make big profits by cheating you “just a little bit”
Some companies believe that if they cheat each employee just a little bit, they can get away with it because no one will go to the trouble of fighting it. If your employer cheats you out of $25 here and there that you have earned for working overtime it may not seem like much. Multiply that by hundreds or thousands of employees, and you can see just how much large companies have to gain by cheating employees out of overtime pay. When you let it go because you don’t think it’s worth the hassle, you prove to them that the scheme is working and they continue to cheat their employees.
Tactic companies use to cheat you out of the money you earn
Some employers use the direct approach, bullying their employees. Most are sneaking, using complicated pay schedules to obscure where and how they are cheating you. Common tactics employers use to avoid paying overtime include:
• Forcing or intimidating you into working off the clock
• Requiring you to perform tasks before clocking in or after clocking out as preparation, clean up, or shut down activities
• Refusing to pay for “unapproved” hours
• Automatically deducting hours for lunch and breaks even if you worked during that time period
• Refusing to pay for short breaks (less than 30 minutes) or combining the time taken in short breaks to total 30 minutes or more
• Carrying overtime hours over into the next week’s hours
• Falsifying time sheets
• Misclassifying you as exempt from overtime
• Issuing a check paying your overtime hours at your regular wage and hoping you either won’t notice or won’t say anything
If your employer is cheating you out of the money that you have earned, you need the help of an experienced employment attorney, especially if you work for a large corporation. These types of cases are complex and can be a difficult battle, but they can be won, as was recently the case with Wal-Mart cheating its employees.
Employers who short you on overtime pay are breaking the law and stealing from you and your family. If your employer is cheating you out of wages you have earned, talk to an experienced employment attorney today.