News reports that overtime complaints – claims filed by workers based on violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – have hit record numbers. Pursuant to the FLSA, non-exempt workers are entitled to overtime wages in the amount of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek. The problem is many workers who are entitled to overtime compensation are denied all of the pay they are entitled to – often due to their employer misclassifying them, either intentionally or mistakenly.
Misclassification is a common occurrence with determining who is exempt vs. non-exempt a close call in many situations. For many individuals, being entitled to overtime pay can make a significant difference in his or her weekly take home pay. If you have questions concerning your classification and whether you may be entitled to additional compensation for overtime pay, it’s important to consult with a top Georgia overtime pay attorney. The recent overtime pay article notes that the number of FLSA complaints has skyrocketed, with more than 7000 overtime violation lawsuits filed in 2011. 7064 cases have already been filed this year, putting it on track for an all-time high. The reasons for increased lawsuits are several, including confusion concerning overtime laws and the weak economy leading to more employers cutting corners.
Overtime violations hit low-wage workers even harder. In a study by the National Employment Law Project, 77% of low-wage workers who reported working more than 40 hours in a week did not received the overtime compensation they were entitled to. For workers who put in more than 10 hours a day, 93% of workers reported not receiving the required overtime pay. Overtime violations were not the only FLSA infraction, 21% of worker reported making less than the required minimum wage. According to the study, the average low wage worker loses out on $58 per week and $3,000 per year due to wage violations by employers.
Fortunately, the federal government has started cracking down on employer wage violations. The Department of Labor is focusing on industries — such as restaurant, hospitality, janitorial, health care and day care — where wage theft is believed to be widespread. In the last fiscal year, the Department of Labor has collected over $224 million in back wages for more than 275,000 workers.
If you believe you have not received all the compensation you are entitled to, it’s important to contact an experienced Atlanta overtime compensation lawyer at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP right away.