The holidays are a tough time for retail employees who work long hours to accommodate all the holiday shopping. And just when it seems to be over, the return season begins. Considering all the time they put in, retail employees may be wondering if they worked overtime hours and if they were properly paid. If you believe your employer did not pay you overtime, it may be time to consider taking legal action.
Greg Coleman Law can help workers assert their rights to fair pay. Our experienced Knoxville-based employment law attorneys can review your case during a free consultation and explain what legal options are available to you.
How Overtime Works
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, regular employees who work more than 40 hours in a week are entitled to overtime pay in the amount of one-and-a-halftimes the regular rate. For example, if your regular rate of pay is $10, any additional hours you work after the first 40 should be paid at $15/hour.
There are several limitations on this general rule in the form of exemptions. Workers are either exempt or nonexempt from overtime pay. Most employees are nonexempt and entitled to overtime pay, but workers who satisfy certain criteria are exempt from overtime pay.
For example, the FLSA has specific criteria for executive, administrative and professional employees and computer professionals. Other types of workers who are excluded include employees paid on commission at certain retail and service establishments and farm workers who work on small farms.
Common Ways People Are Denied Overtime Pay
There are many things that employers do to deny workers overtime pay, including the following:
- Requiring employees to work off the clock – An employer may ask employees to complete work at home and not compensate them for this time. Employers may instruct employees to arrive to work early to open the business and prepare the office but not allow them to clock in until business opens to the public.
- Misclassifying employees – Employers may classify employees as exempt or as independent contractors in order to avoid paying required overtime pay.
- Requiring employees to work during lunch – Employers may instruct workers to clock out for lunch but then require them to manage the front desk or complete other work during this unpaid break.
- Requiring employees to be on call – Employers may require employees to constantly be “on call” to help the business. However, this time may be compensable if it prevents employees from being able to have time off work.
What to Do if You are Denied Overtime Pay
If you were denied overtime, you may want to first talk to your employer. You can explain why you deserve overtime pay and can present any evidence of the hours you worked. However, if your employer does not respond, you may choose to take legal action.
You can file a wage claim through your state’s labor department. You can also choose to pursue legal action through a lawsuit. Our lawyers at Greg Coleman Law can explain which legal route will be in your best interest to secure the pay you are due.
Your employer cannot legally retaliate against you for filing a claim or lawsuit based on unpaid wages. If your employer terminates you, you may have additional legal grounds for recovery against your employer.
When to Call a Lawyer
If you have spoken to your employer and he or she has refused to pay you the wages you are entitled, it is important to seek legal assistance. Our attorneys at Greg Coleman Law are aware of the relevant regulations and can advise you of your rights during a free, no obligation consultation.
We work on a contingency fee basis, so you pay us nothing unless you recover compensation from your claim.