If you are an hourly employee, then you must be paid at a higher rate for overtime. In most cases, you are entitled to one and one-half times your regular rate of pay for overtime work. Some union contracts provide for an even higher rate.
For most employees, overtime begins after 40 hours in a single workweek. The rules are a little different for those who work in hospitals, nursing homes, and as domestic helpers, but the concept is the same. Once you hit the overtime threshold, your employer must pay the overtime rate.
How Employers Try to Avoid Paying Overtime
Some employers try to get around the overtime rules by having employees work off-the-clock or at home after regular working hours. This is illegal. It does not matter where you work or if you punch in and out. If you are doing work that your employer requires you to perform, then you are entitled to be compensated for it, even if you do the work from home or without clocking in and out.
Other employers try to get around the overtime rules by misclassifying employees as exempt. You are not exempt from the overtime rules just because you receive a salary or are given the title of manager. Your right to overtime depends on the type of work you do, not what your employer calls you or how you are paid. Exempt employees are limited to certain types of executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, or computer employees. If you do not fall in one of the exempt categories, then you are entitled to overtime compensation.
How an Employment Lawyer Can Help
If you believe that you are entitled to overtime pay, you should consult with an experienced overtime lawyer. The consultation is free and, if you have a strong case, you will be represented on a contingency fee basis. In other words, you will not owe any attorneys’ fees unless you win.
You should give your lawyer any documents you have to support your claim. The documents may include timesheets, pay stubs, and other payroll records, any employment agreements, emails or correspondence between you and your employer, and employee manuals, policies and procedures. If you do not have official time records, you should keep track of the hours you work in a diary or calendar. You should also make a list of any witnesses and any co-workers who may have similar claims.
Your lawyer will prepare a complaint against your employer for violations of the federal and state overtime laws and request an award of monetary damages. If you win, you may be entitled to two times the amount of overtime pay the employer owes to you. Plus, your employer may be ordered to pay your attorneys’ fees and costs.
To schedule a consultation with an experienced overtime lawyer, complete our contact form or call us at (212) 601-2728.