Payment of Overtime Wages
Many employers, even large corporations, often violate federal and state laws requiring premium payment of overtime (usually time and a half after 40 hours in a workweek) to their workers. Sometimes these violations are not planned, but unfortunately, often they are intentional. It has been estimated that more than 70 % of the employers in the United States have some sort of unlawful overtime practice that they impose on their workers. Here are a few of the ways employers violate overtime laws:
- By requiring employees to work “off the clock.” Examples of this include telling employees to report less hours than they actually work, requiring workers to take work home and not report that time worked, not paying workers for travel when they are working out of town, failing to pay overtime to employees when they attend training and other work related meetings and failing to pay employees for on-call time.
- By labeling non-exempt employees as exempt employees and denying them payment of overtime. Examples of this practice include misclassifying employees as executives, administrators, professionals or outside salespersons. Employers often mischaracterize workers as independent contractors or consultants also to avoid overtime pay that is legally due workers.
- By “working backwards” to pay for overtime compensation. This practice involves paying employees different hourly rates of pay each week to ensure a certain maximum amount of compensation is paid each week even when more than 40 hours are worked in the week and overtime at a premium rate should be paid.
- By requiring workers to take “comp time” off instead of being paid overtime; that is, take as time off in another workweek the amount of overtime hours they worked in an earlier workweek instead of being paid the overtime at a premium rate they are entitled to under state and federal law.
- By refusing to pay workers for overtime work because it has not been “pre-approved” or because the employer has a rule that overtime cannot be worked while supervisors require employees to work overtime either directly or by suggestion.
If you feel you and/or your co-workers have been unlawfully denied the payment of overtime for hours worked over 40 in a workweek, call Tim Pauley at Pauley & Associates for a free consultation. He has worked in the wage/hour field for over 30 years, prosecuted cases for the U.S. Secretary of Labor early in his career and has represented employees in overtime matters in many situations including class actions here in Washington State against such employers as United Parcel Service and Bank of America.