Overtime and Minimum Wage Protection in Cleveland, Ohio – David W. Neel, Attorney at Law
Has your employer failed to pay you overtime or minimum wages? If so you’ve come to the right place. Let me tell you first about the law and then how I can help you. You should know right off the bat that you will pay no attorney’s fees if your employer has violated the wage and hour laws requiring payment of overtime or the minimum wage. All you have to do is call 216-522-0011 to talk with me about your situation. The consultation is free.
The Wage and Hour Laws
You already know that most employers have to pay an extra 50% of your regular wage rate for hours worked over 40 during any given week. For example, if you are paid $10 per hour and work 60 hours in a week, then you are entitled to be paid $15 per hour for those extra 20 hours. The federal law is called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Ohio law is known as the Minimum Fair Wages Standards Act (MFWSA). The Ohio MFWSA generally follows the rules and regulations that govern the FLSA. The FLSA covers employers with gross revenues of at least $500,000 or who are engaged in interstate commerce. For overtime purposes the Ohio MFWSA covers employers with gross sales of at least $150,000. As for which employees are protected, the line is drawn between blue collar and white collar employees. You are entitled to overtime unless an exemption applies. White collar type employees like executives, administrators, professionals and computer employees getting a salary of at least $455 per week are not entitled to overtime. Employees making at least $100,000 who meet only part of the definition of an executive, administrator, professional or computer employee are not entitled to overtime. Outside sales people are also considered exempt employees regardless of how much they are paid. Keep in mind that these exemptions have precise definitions. Do not assume, for example, that because your job title is Administrator you are not entitled to overtime pay. Ohio law incorporates these exemptions and adds a few more, most notably policemen and firemen.
If your job does not fit into one of these exemptions then you should be getting that extra 50% for hours worked over 40 during the week. Employees who earn an hourly wage are supposed to get paid overtime. That hourly wage must be at least the minimum wage. Under federal law the minimum wage in 2018 is $7.25 per hour. In Ohio it’s $8.30 per hour for non-tipped workers and $4.15 (tip amount plus this must equal $8.15) for tipped workers. This new Ohio wage only applies to companies with annual gross sales over $305,000. If your employer’s revenues are less than that amount then you have to be paid the federal minimum wage. Under the FLSA, tipped employees must be paid at least $2.13 per hour and, with tips, must receive not less than the $7.25/hour federal minimum wage.
As always there are many fact patterns that can arise. I can help you sort through your particular situation. Your first step is to contact me. Call me at 216-522-0011 and we can talk. If you prefer, go to my contact page, fill out the simple form and hit send. I will get an email with your contact information. You should hear from me that same day. If I think you have a case I will represent you in a lawsuit against your employer. I prefer filing these cases in federal court. The filing fee in the Northern District of Ohio is $400, which you pay if you can afford it. If you cannot afford that filing fee we can ask the court to waive the fee. In such cases you and I will prepare a financial means disclosure form that the federal court will review.
Overtime – Exempt Employees
The overtime compensation rules do not apply in like manner to all employees. Some workers are completely exempt from the rules, while others are exempt or partially exempt from some of the rules. The most widely used and recognized exemptions from federal and state overtime requirements are the exemptions for “white collar” employees, such as executives, administrators and professionals.
- An executive employee is generally one whose primary duty is management, who supervises the work of at least two other employees on a regular basis, and who has the power to hire or fire, or who has a say as to the employment status of other employees.
- An administrative employee is generally one whose primary duty is office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers, including the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance. For example, employees working in a tax, labor relations, human resources or IT department can be exempt administrative employees, if they regularly make important business judgments.
- “Professional employee” refers generally to the traditional professions, including teaching, as opposed to the mechanical arts or skilled trades.
- While technically not exempted by the white collar exemptions, skilled computer employees and outside salespersons may also be classified as exempt employees.
Whether an employee is exempt is determined by the employee’s actual work activities, not by an employer’s characterization of those activities through a job title, job description or by the nature of the employer’s business.
Overtime – Salary Requirements For Exempt Employees
No employee may be considered an exempt “white collar” employee unless his or her wages meet the minimum compensation requirements. Currently, the minimum compensation requirement is $455 per week on a salary basis; however, this pay requirement does not apply to teachers, doctors, medical residents and interns, and lawyers. For computer employees, the pay requirement is met by compensation of at least $27.63 per hour. President Obama has called for an increase to the minimum salary requirement so that millions more Americans can get overtime.
Overtime – Penalties for Employers
Unpaid overtime carries stiff penalties for employers. In addition to paying the amount of unpaid overtime, employees can collect an additional 2 to 5 times that amount in damages. Unpaid overtime can also result in employer liability for the employee’s attorney’s fees and litigation costs and expenses. Not only that, an employee can sue on behalf of other employees who were the victim of unpaid overtime. In such cases, the employee who sues can collect an additional amount as the representative for class of employees with unpaid overtime claims.
Overtime – Who Is An Employer?
Moreover, the legal definition of “employer” includes “any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee.” This means that business owners and others can be personally liable for unpaid overtime and additional damages.
More information about your rights can be found at the DOL website and, more generally, at Wikipedia. The DOL also provides an overtime calculator that you can use to calculate what you might be owed.