Under Kentucky law, you’re supposed to be paid time-and-a-half for any hours that you work in excess of 40 hours per week, unless you’re exempted from those laws. While that can give you a huge financial boost, the sad reality is that employers often cheat their workers out of these hard-earned wages.
There are a number of ways that they do this. They might ask you to perform work at home, arrive to work early to conduct “pre-shift work,” or discount work-related travel, all without pay. This is likely illegal and in violation of your rights as a worker. But if you want to recoup the wages that are due to you, what are you to do? One option is to take legal action against your employer.
Tips for building your unpaid overtime case
If you want to recover the wages that have been stolen from you, then you need to know how to build your claim. Although that can be stressful to think about, there are steps that you can take now to better position yourself for success. Here are some of them:
- Track your time: If your employer is savvy, then they might not have you officially “on the clock” when you conduct overtime. By doing so, they can claim that you’re lying about the overtime hours that you worked. To avoid that from happening to you, make sure that you keep track of all of your overtime so that you can clearly demonstrate the pay that you should’ve received but didn’t.
- Retain communications: If your overtime goes unpaid, then you might reach out to your employer to ask why. Your employer’s response could provide insight into its intent, which could be key in your wage and hour case. So, make sure that you’re reducing your communications to writing, whether that be email or text message, and keep everything pertaining to this issue. If your employer insists on talking to you face-to-face, then you should quickly document what was said so that your memory doesn’t fade.
- Prepare for your claim now: Pursuant to Kentucky law, you only have five years to file your claim for unpaid wages. So, you’ll want to avoid sitting on your rights for too long, otherwise you might miss out on recovering the compensation that you need.
- Watch what you say: Your employer is going to look for any evidence that it can use against you. This includes your own statements. So, be careful that you’re not saying anything that might indicate that you worked less time than you actually did or that you in fact didn’t work overtime at all. The same holds true for missed breaks and mealtimes. Don’t lead your employer to believe that you took these breaks when you didn’t or that you voluntarily opted out of them when you in fact didn’t.
Think about building your legal claim now
There’s a lot that you can do to start positioning your case for success. You simply have to be aware of the law and how your actions will impact the law’s application to your set of circumstances. We recognize that can be challenging to do when you don’t have a lot of experience dealing with the legal arena, but that’s okay. You don’t have to have all of the answers right now. Instead, you can continue to look into the matter and ask the questions that you need answered before moving forward with legal action.
Once you’ve developed a strong case, though, you’ll hopefully be able to find some accountability and recover the compensation that you’re owed. Not only will this put you where you need to be, but it might also protect other workers from being treated unfairly.