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Did You Work Overtime? Know Your Rights to Compensation

For most employees, the standard workweek is 40 hours within a seven-day period. This is part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This and laws such as the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act comprise the legal area known as employment law.

When an employee covered by this act works more than 40 hours in a workweek, he or she is entitled to receive overtime pay, compensation at one and one half times his or her normal hourly rate. Overtime pay cuts into an employer’s bottom line, which spurs many to take steps to reduce or eliminate overtime hours. This is a violation of the employees’ rights and can be grounds for a complaint with the Department of Labor.

Who is Eligible for Overtime Pay?

Not all workers are eligible for overtime pay. To be eligible for overtime pay, a worker must be an employee, rather than an independent contractor.

Among employees, there are multiple groups that are exempt from overtime pay under the FLSA. These groups include, but are not limited to:

  • “Highly compensated” employees who perform executive, administrative, or professional duties;
  • Newspaper delivery workers;
  • Seasonal employees in recreational settings;
  • Taxi drivers;
  • Boat, truck, and aircraft salespeople; and
  • Live-in domestic workers.

Ways Employers Attempt to Circumvent Paying Overtime Compensation

The following are ways employers can attempt to avoid paying workers the overtime compensation they are entitled to receive:

  • Classifying employees as independent contractors. There are many factors that distinguish an employee from an independent contractor, the latter of which is not entitled to many of the protections guaranteed to employees. Your lawyer can go over these factors with you and determine if you are misclassified;
  • Requiring workers to clock out for meals or breaks despite performing work during these break periods;
  • Requiring workers to come in early or stay after their shifts to perform work “off the clock;” and
  • Expecting employees to work from home without compensating them for that work. This can include reading emails, preparing reports, and communicating with others regarding work-related issues.

What Can I Do if I am Not Paid the Overtime I Earn?

You have the right to file a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. Your lawyer can help you file this type of claim to have your case investigated. You may be able to recover compensation for the wages you earned but did not receive.

Work with an Experienced La Crosse Employment Lawyer

As a working American, you have certain rights. These include the right to receive overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours in a standard workweek, provided you are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. If you feel your rights as an employee have been violated, speak with an experienced employment lawyer about pursuing a claim with the Department of Labor. Contact our team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. today to set up your initial consultation with us.

Published May 19, 2017
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