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How employers cheat workers out of overtime pay

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2024 | Wage & Hour Claims |

You work hard at your job, and you deserve to be compensated as required under the law. Yet, all too often employers try to skirt the law by paying workers like you less than you deserve, all so that they can keep the money for themselves while cheating you and your family. That’s despicable and shouldn’t be acceptable under any circumstances. That’s why if you think that you haven’t received the wages that you’ve earned, then you need to consider taking legal action.

This is especially true when it comes to overtime. Pursuant to federal and state law, your employer is required to pay you one-and-a-half times your hourly rate when you work more than 40 hours per week. If you’re a salaried worker, such as an executive or a professional, then you’re exempt from this law. But if you’re an hourly wage earner and haven’t been paid proper overtime, then legal action is warranted.

How employers try to avoid paying overtime

In some instances, employers just outright deny overtime pay that’s owed. However, in most cases, employers try to formulate an excuse for not paying what’s owed. Here are some excuses that you might hear in your case:

  • Arguing that your overtime wasn’t approved: Your employer might try to argue that they don’t owe you overtime pay because you didn’t get its approval to conduct overtime work. This likely isn’t true, as in many cases employers give directions to conduct additional work or at least allude to it. If you’ve worked the time, your employer should pay you for it.
  • Requesting off the clock work: Your employer might try to get extra work out of you without paying you for it by calling it something like pre-shift or post-shift duties. Work is work. It doesn’t matter when you start or stop or what you’re doing at that time. If you’re performing duties for your employer’s benefit, then you should be paid for it.
  • Forcing you to work through meal breaks: Although short breaks are typically compensable, meaning that you don’t have to clock out for them, meal breaks are not. But your employer might require you to work through your meal break, which means that they’re really getting free work. You should be paid for this time, though, including overtime pay if that work puts you over 40 hours per week.
  • Deducting time for meal breaks: While your employer might be allowed to deduct a certain amount of time from your hours worked to account for meal breaks, that might become illegal if you’re not offered those meal breaks. This can also cheat you out of the overtime pay that you deserve.
  • Misclassifying your employment status: Another sneaky tactic used by employers to cheat workers out of overtime pay is classifying them as exempt employees when they’re not. Although you might be offered additional benefits by being considered exempt, you’ll also lose out on the ability to receive overtime pay. So, carefully analyze whether your position has been properly classified.

Are you ready to fight for the overtime pay you deserve?

If so, then you need to start gathering evidence to support a legal claim. This includes tracking your time, keeping communications you’ve had with your employer about the issue, and securing all documentation about your hours worked and your employer’s expectations. You should also be careful that you don’t make statements that would jeopardize your claim, such as those that minimize the amount of work you performed or that question whether you even worked overtime.

Dealing with an employment law issue like unpaid overtime can be stressful. Yet, taking legal action is the only way to protect your rights and your access to the money you deserve. So, if you’re ready to protect your interest, then now is the time to act.