What Kind of Results Can I Expect if I File a Lawsuit for Unpaid Overtime in Ohio?

Barkan Meizlish , April 13, 2020

No Ohio employee rights attorney can guarantee the outcome of an unpaid overtime lawsuit.

Winning is not a sure thing, and the amount of money that can be claimed in the event of succeeding at trial or negotiating a settlement depends on too many factors to calculate accurately. So, we will never be able to tell anyone precisely how things will end.

However, we understand that clients in unpaid wage cases want to know what they should expect to go through when they sue their current or former employee. That is a question we are prepared and happy to answer.

Still, we cannot include every detail here, and your situation may present some unique challenges we have not anticipated. Please contact us online or call Barkan Meizlish, LLP at (614) 221-4221 to schedule a free confidential consultation if you need more information or wish to pursue an unpaid overtime lawsuit.

First, Know Whether You Have Grounds to File an Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit

Under a federal law called the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), hourly workers who do not manage other employees and who earn less than $455/week ($35,568/year) are eligible to earn overtime pay. The legally mandated overtime pay rate is 1.5 times the eligible employee’s hourly wage, and overtime starts after an employee has worked 40 hours during a 7-day workweek.

Nearly all employees who traditionally receive tips, such as wait staff and bartenders, are eligible to earn overtime, but are also often eligible to be paid a lower hourly rate. On the other hand, some skilled professionals and salespeople who get paid hourly are not eligible. The rules regarding exemptions from overtime eligibility become pretty complicated pretty quickly. Feel free to ask an unpaid wage attorney if you are unsure whether you meet the criteria for earning overtime.

Consider Talking to Your Coworkers or Former Colleagues

Employers use a variety of tactics to deny overtime pay. A few of the most common are

  • Misclassifying employees as managers or nonemployee independent contractors,
  • Telling employees they must work unpaid overtime in order to keep their jobs,
  • Inappropriately counting tips as a component of hourly pay, and
  • Playing games with comp time in lieu of paying overtime.

Checking with coworkers or the people they used to work with to learn if such problems are occurring will give a worker a sense of whether they have grounds to file an unpaid overtime lawsuit. Also, groups of people who worked for the same employer can join together to take collective legal action against a company that underpaid them. Collective actions can have a great chance of succeeding in court than lawsuits filed by individuals.

Understand That There Will Be a Lot of Paperwork

Proving that an employer violated overtime rules requires collecting and analyzing pay stubs, timesheets, corporate records and internal communications between supervisors and managers. An attorney who has experience in handling unpaid wage cases will know how to compel an employer to share all the necessary information. It will also be helpful for you to gather any documents that have your pay or time information on them and provide them to your attorney as soon as possible.

Do Not Be Surprised if Your Employer Pushes Back

Federal employment regulations call demanding fair pay for all the hours that one works “engaging protected activity.” It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who engages in protected activity, but it is not uncommon.

Data released by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in February 2020 show that retaliation was the number-one complaint the agency received during the previous fiscal year, accounting for nearly 54 percent of the cases. When supervisors and managers harass, insult, demote, or fire an employee who files an unpaid overtime lawsuit, that employee also has the right to file a workplace retaliation lawsuit.

Recognize That the Hassle Can Be Worth It

A worker who wins their unpaid overtime lawsuit receives the payments they were originally denied, interest on the back pay, and other monetary damages. The court may also issue orders for the company to improve its pay practices or face further fines.

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