During the 2019 fiscal year, the federal agency that enforces overtime rules recorded just over 11,000 violations and collected more than $186 million in unpaid wages for nearly 215,300 workers. Ohio employers were as likely as companies and agencies everywhere else to deny overtime to employees who had earned it.
Employee rights attorneys with Barkan Meizlish, LLP, welcome opportunities to help fellow Ohio residents hold every employer that refuses to pay overtime accountable. Here are four steps workers can take on their own to make that happen.
Determine Your Eligibility to Earn Overtime
Rules set by the U.S. government under a law called the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, say who must be paid overtime. Discussing all those rules in detail would create more confusion than clarity. At a practical level, you need to answer the following questions to know if you should be receiving overtime pay.
- Did you work more than 40 hours during a 7-day workweek? This is the minimum requirement for overtime eligibility.
- Do you earn less than $455 per week? Earning more than that allows your employer to automatically exempt you from earning overtime. This salary threshold rises to $684 per week in 2020.
- Do you supervise coworkers? Employers can exempt managers from overtime eligibility regardless of what a manager earns each week.
- Do you hold a job with a position title or job description that includes the word “executive,” “administrative,” “professional,” “computer,” or “outside sales”? Complicated duties tests exist for workers in several types of jobs. Your employer is allowed to make you exempt from overtime depending on your duties.
Keep a Record of the Hours You Work Each Week
The FLSA requires your employer to keep accurate records of the time you spend working and how much you get paid. Companies and agencies that refuse to pay overtime often fail to do that. Sometimes, the problem is just sloppiness, but many employers actually falsify wage and hour records.
If you believe you are being denied overtime pay, you can build your case by keeping your own records. Federal and state investigators, as well as a lawyer you hire to pursue an unpaid overtime claim, can force your employer to hand over its records. Comparing your notes with what the employer reported can reveal FLSA violations.
Ask Coworkers if They Are Being Paid for All the Hours They Work
Employers that refuse to pay overtime to you may be cheating other workers. You have the right to discuss this with your coworkers, and gathering evidence of a pattern of FLSA violations can strengthen your claim for unpaid overtime. A judge may also allow you and your coworkers to sue as a group, which ensures justice for as many people as possible.
Consult With an Employment Lawyer Who Handles Overtime Cases
You can and should bring your concerns about unpaid overtime directly to managers and supervisors. Meeting with an experienced employee rights attorney before doing so will ensure that you have solid evidence and also help protect you from retaliation. Laws exist to make firing or harassing an employee for complaining about illegal pay practices, but employers break those laws all the time. At Barkan Meizlish, LLP, we only advise and represent workers. The Paycheck Warriors at Barkan Meizlish, LLP, will work with you throughout your case and help assure the best possible outcome. Let us know how we can assist you with securing unpaid overtime by calling our Columbus offices at (614) 221-4221 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. We take cases all across Ohio, and we book appointments online.