Unpaid Overtime Recovered – David W. Neel, Attorney at Law
Employers who don’t pay overtime are stealing from their employees. Plain and simple. So, to make that point I usually ask my unpaid overtime clients “What kind of car does your boss drive”? Every time, my client says something like, “Well, he just got a new Mercedes convertible.” Sometimes they add that their boss’s wife is now driving a new Escalade. How nice! Your employer is spending your money to support a lavish lifestyle. Frankly, it upsets me when employers don’t play by the rules. And one of the big rules is about paying overtime.
Has your employer failed to pay you overtime (or minimum wages)? If so, I will get it for you. There’s a reason I have all 5-star reviews on Google. It’s not just results. It’s also the level of service I provide. You will communicate with me directly. I take a personal interest in your case. I actually care. Read my Google reviews. See what my clients say about me. My reviews accurately describe what you can expect as my client.
Now, if you’d like to learn a bit about the overtime laws, please read on. Or, you can give me a call at 216-522-0011. We can then talk about your situation. I can then get you that unpaid overtime.
Unpaid Overtime — The Wage and Hour Laws
The laws that cover overtime and minimum wage rights are called the wage and hour laws. There are basically two sets of laws – federal and state. The federal law is known as the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The Ohio law is called the Minimum Fair Wages Standards Act (“MFWSA”). There are many rules and regulations, but the basic rule is simple. Your employer must pay you time and a-half when you work more than 40 hours a week.
Example: An employee’s wage rate is $10 per hour. He or she works 45 hours during the work week. The employer must pay $15 per hour for those extra 5 hours.
Pretty simple, right? Well, it is. Or should be. So why hasn’t your employer paid you overtime pay? The answer is because they think they can get away with it. Some employers will pay you a “salary” to get you to think you aren’t entitled to overtime pay. Other employers say you’re an “independent contractor,” and independent contractors don’t get overtime, right? Still other employers think, “what are you going to do about it”?
Unpaid Overtime — Who is Covered?
Not all employers must pay overtime. Not all employees are supposed to get overtime. It can get complicated, but here are the basic rules.
Employers Covered by the Overtime Laws
- Employers with gross revenues of at least $500,000 (federal);
- Those with gross sales of at least $150,000 (Ohio);
- Employers engaged in interstate commerce (federal).
Employees Covered by the Overtime Laws
- Employees making less than $455 per week;
- Those making at least $455 per week and not:
- Administrative employees;
- Outside salespeople;
- Computer analysts and programmer types;
- Employees making at least $100,000; and
- Police and firefighters (Ohio law).
Basically, “blue collar” employees get overtime. “White collar” employees don’t. Employee exemptions from the overtime laws stem from precise definitions. The law bases exemptions on your job duties and how much you make. Your job title does not matter.
The Minimum Wage
Employers must pay their hourly employees a minimum wage. Under federal law the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Ohio’s minimum wage is now $8.55 per hour. The Ohio minimum wage applies to companies with sales of at least $314,000. Smaller Ohio employers must pay the federal minimum wage. Tipped employees have a lower minimum wage. Ohio law requires $4.30 for tipped workers. It’s $2.13 under federal law. Regardless, employers must pay tipped employees enough cash to get them to the minimum wage with tips.
Get Your Unpaid Overtime
Many fact patterns 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. You pay no attorney’s fees.
Read about my experience and background. Remember, I am here to help you.
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.