In 2003, the Wage and Hour Division collected more than $212 million dollars in back wages due to overtime law violations. In most cases, the employer simply did not understand the basics of overtime law and failed to pay non-exempt employees time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40. However, in some cases, the employer used an overtime scam to cheat their workers out of additional pay.
If you feel you were cheated out of overtime, fill out our free case evaluation form. Even if you are unsure whether you were a victim of an overtime scam, our overtime attorneys can evaluate your claim-at no cost to you.
In general, professional, administrative and executive employees are not eligible for overtime pay. When an employer intentionally misclassifies a worker into one of these exempt categories, an overtime scam has occurred. In this overtime scam, the employer offers an employee a fancy job title; however, the employee does not perform any job duties associated with this title. For instance, a retail employer may classify a worker as an "assistant manager," but this employee does not supervise or manage other workers. Because overtime eligibility is based on job duties, not job titles, this employee should typically receive overtime for hours worked over 40.
A common overtime scam, working off the clock occurs when an employer requires a worker to perform job duties before clocking in or after clocking out. Some employers try to justify this overtime scam by telling a worker that he or she should have finished the job task before the end of the workday. However, working without getting paid is illegal.
Many employers also fail to compensate their employees for short meal or rest breaks. The law generally requires employers to pay workers for short breaks, ranging from five to 20 minutes. Likewise, if an employee must clock out during lunch, but remains at his or her desk performing job tasks while eating, he or she should be compensated for this time.
Overtime pay must be given to non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a single workweek. Some employers try to avoid paying overtime by combining or averaging workweeks. For instance, if an employee works 30 hours one week and 50 hours the next week, the employer may average the workweeks, resulting in 80 hours over two weeks. However, this overtime scam is illegal because the employee did not receive overtime pay for the 50-hour workweek.
The overtime scams listed above are not the only illegal practices employers use to avoid paying overtime. Some other common overtime scams include:
If you have fallen victim to an overtime scam, you may be eligible for an overtime lawsuit. Fill out our free case evaluation form today to speak to an overtime attorney. Our overtime lawyers will investigate your claim to determine whether you are eligible to collect back wages.