Unpaid Overtime Violation Lawyers
In Ohio, overtime occurs when an employee works over 40 hours in a seven-day workweek. If someone is a nonexempt employee from overtime, they are legally entitled to one and a half times their regular rate of pay for overtime hours worked.
A regular rate of pay can have different meanings depending on the job and how an individual gets paid. If an employee were to total their weekly earnings and divide it by the number of hours they worked that week before overtime, that amount constitutes their regular rate of pay. Negotiations may occur between an employee, their employer, and their respective attorneys if there is an issue regarding unpaid overtime.
If you are not getting paid for extra working hours, you should contact one of our Ohio unpaid overtime lawyers for help building a case. We could help you collect evidence, evaluate the value of your case, and pursue fair compensation. You should receive payment for all of your hard work. At Tittle & Perlmuter, we can help you do that. For more information, call today.
Federal and State Overtime Laws
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) established the concept of overtime pay under the law. The FLSA states that employees who work more than 40 hours in any seven-day period deserve pay at one and a half times their usual hourly rate. Overtime pay is required regardless of whether an employee worked additional hours in a traditional Monday through Friday work schedule or put in time over the weekend.
Though states may enact additional protections for workers, Ohio has not chosen to expand upon the federal overtime laws. Ohio Revised Code § 4111.03 echoes the federal law in requiring overtime pay for hourly workers.
Workers Exempt from Overtime Laws
While many workers are covered under this statute, not all workers are entitled to overtime. For example, many salaried workers are not paid on an hourly basis, allowing their employer to avoid complying with any minimum wage laws.
Independent contractors are another exception. Despite working closely with an employer, they are technically not an employee. This distinction is vital, as independent contractors are not protected by these laws.
Finally, bartenders, waiters, and other tipped workers do not qualify for overtime even when they work more than 40 hours in a week. A local attorney could advise an employee if they have been subject to overtime violations following a careful review of their records and pay stubs.
What is Fluctuating Pay?
If an employee is expected to work a certain amount every week, hours worked over 40 are still considered overtime hours. However, an employer can structure pay on a fluctuating workweek basis so that employees know what they may receive for working over 40 hours a week. The fluctuating workweek takes an employee’s regular rate of pay and multiplies it by at least one and a half their regular rate for the hours worked over 40 to ensure that an employee does not get a lower pay than required. Employers can properly structure it in such a way that employees receive a certain rate of pay each week, but do not get any additional pay for overtime.
To comply with rules regarding pay for hours worked over 40, employers should have a firm understanding of applicable regulations, good legal counsel, and sound pay structures. It is important to note that employers often inadvertently shortchange their employees when attempting to comply with regulations by using fluctuating workweek pay. An experienced lawyer could assess an employee’s pay schedule to determine if they are going unpaid for their overtime work hours.
Automatically Deducting Breaks
Some employees are entitled to specific amounts of break time. If the worker cannot take his or her breaks because of work responsibilities and expectations, losing break time can lead to overtime work.
Sometimes, employers will automatically calculate hours based on assumed lunch hours and other breaks. If the employee could not take those lunch hours, then the employer will need to add that time into the employee’s work hours. Also, deducting short breaks that should be paid time can lead to a calculation of fewer hours worked than the employee was engaged in his or her job.
If the employer repeatedly discounts an employee’s work hours, the result will be less pay and potential denial of overtime wages. An overtime violation attorney can help hold the employer accountable.
Not All Employees Qualify for Overtime
The law does not require overtime pay for all positions. For instance, certain high-level employees will not receive this type of pay, even when they work more than 40 hours a week. Individuals who are not entitled to overtime pay include:
The law also excludes certain professions including babysitters, transportation workers, farmworkers, housekeepers, and non-profit children’s camp workers from obtaining overtime pay.
Other employees enjoy specific protection by overtime laws, including those who earn less than $455 a week as hourly workers and those who are in an eligible field, such as paralegals, first responders, and nurses. Eligible employees must receive at least time and a half for their overtime work. A knowledgeable Ohio lawyer can help individuals understand their rights to overtime pay.
How Violations Occur
Some overtime violations are easy to identify. These cases often involve an employer that requires overtime but fails to pay them the additional pay as required by law.
Some employers take a creative approach to avoid overtime pay. One common trick involves the manipulation of a workweek. This involves an employer manipulating a worker’s schedule so that they might work more than 40 hours, but their time is split into different calendar weeks in a way that makes it seem like they are below the 40-hour threshold.
Thankfully, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) aims to prevent this form of manipulation. While the law allows employers flexibility in how they set their weekly schedules, it requires a 7-day fixed workweek that is not altered for fraudulent purposes. A seasoned lawyer in your area could advise a worker if their schedule results in overtime violations.
What Happens When an Employer Illegally Withholds Overtime?
The refusal to provide overtime pay to employees is a form of wage theft. In these cases, both the State and individual employees have the right to hold businesses accountable. When the State takes the lead, the Director of Commerce will investigate the incident and may initiate a lawsuit seeking back pay on the employee’s behalf.
However, it may be beneficial for workers to seek payment directly from their employers in civil court. Workers covered by minimum wage and overtime laws may pursue a lawsuit alleging the non-payment of wages under Ohio Revised Code § 4111.10. Through a civil suit, employees can recover back pay for wrongfully withheld wages, liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees and court costs. A diligent attorney can help Ohio employees secure proper compensation for their overtime work.
Approaching an Unpaid Overtime Case
Upon approaching unpaid overtime issues, an employee should provide either a Ohio attorney or the Department of Labor with meticulous records. If someone has a suspicion that their overtime pay may not be correct or that they are being shorted hours, having contemporaneous records showing the number of hours worked and the amount of pay they received is critical.
Employees who are required to work off the clock after they punch out, for instance, should take photos on their phone to show the times that they punched out and the times that they left the business over the course of at least one pay period. This will allow a lawyer or the Department of Labor to compare those times with the employee’s paystubs and determine if they have a viable claim.
Many wage and hour cases are fundamentally rooted in how many hours an employee worked versus how much they were paid. Attorneys often need employees to gather more information than they would normally, as overtime violations can be nuanced and likely will not entail blatantly unpaid stubs. This means that an employee who is required to work off the clock should not expect that their compensation will be accurately reflected on their paystub.
For a legal advocate to build the strongest possible case, the employee should keep records demonstrating the hours they work, the pay they receive, and what their job duties entail.