A recent wage and hour lawsuit underscored an important point – if you are a non-exempt employee and you work overtime, you must be paid overtime pay at one and one half times your standard rate of pay – even if you consent not to be paid the higher amount. The Fair Labor Standards Act sets forth very specific requirements designed to protect workers and ensure they are paid what they deserve. This includes receiving at lest minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25/hour, although efforts are underway in several states and in the federal government and paying all non-exempt workers overtime pay for time spent working in excess of 40 hours in any week.
Thus, if you work more than 40 hours in a week, and are entitled to overtime, your employer must pay you for the time worked. If you have questions about the pay you deserve, it’s a good idea to consult with a dedicated Atlanta wage and hour attorney immediately.
Because overtime pay can amount to significant amounts, employers may try to avoid paying such sums. However, regardless of an employers’ motivation for not paying overtime – non-exempt employees who work overtime must be paid for the time worked.
A recent FLSA case looked at the situation where employees agreed to forgo the higher pay rate they were entitled to in order to get more hourly work. In this instance, Citywide Protection Services offered its employees extra hours but only if they agreed not to require them to pay time and a half. While the company president asserts he was just trying to help out by giving his workers extra money but couldn’t afford the higher overtime wages, the Labor Department Wage and Hour Division explained that this didn’t matter. If you work overtime, you are entitled to overtime pay – period.
As a result of this finding, the company was fined $5000 for “willful and repeat violations” of the FLSA and was required to pa back wages. Further – the workers were illegally requested to return the money that the employer was ordered to pay as the result of the investigation.
A representative noted, “Failing to pay overtime when employees work long hours for your business is bad enough, but to intimidate workers to return their rightfully earned wages is inexcusable.” The company was also fined for violations of the FLSA for misclassifying the security guards as independent contractors when they were actually employees.
If you have any wage and hour questions or believe that you have not received all the wages you are entitled to, we urge you to contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate, confidential case evaluation.