If you worked more than 40 hours in one week, your employer may owe you overtime pay. When they fail or refuse to pay it, it’s a form of wage theft.
This problem is increasingly prevalent in the U.S. workforce. According to a recent survey conducted by ADP, North American workers dedicate an average of nine hours per week to unpaid overtime. Using the median wage for full-time employment, this translates to approximately $17,726 per year for an individual or $35,451 per year for a two-person household.
At the law office of Robert B. Landry III PLC, we firmly believe that every employee deserves to be paid in full for all hours worked. When your employer tries to profit by ignoring or circumventing the law, we can help. Award-winning employment lawyer Robert B. Landry III will listen to your story and use his extensive skills and experience to pursue the overtime pay you are entitled to.
Understanding Unpaid Overtime
When eligible employees work more than a certain number of hours in a week, they are entitled to overtime compensation. Typically, overtime pay is calculated at a rate of 1.5 times the regular hourly wage, commonly known as “time-and-a-half.”
At the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the standards for overtime pay, minimum wage, and other labor provisions. It establishes guidelines for which employees are eligible for overtime and the calculation of overtime wages. Louisiana has not enacted its own overtime pay laws, so workers in this state are protected by the federal hour laws.
Examples of Unpaid Overtime Violations
There are several tactics that employers use to get out of paying overtime. The most common strategies are highlighted below.
- Misclassification of Employees: One common unpaid overtime violation is the misclassification of employees. Employers may intentionally or mistakenly classify employees as exempt from overtime when they should be considered non-exempt. This misclassification denies employees the overtime pay they are entitled to under the law.
- Off-the-Clock Work: Employees being required to work off-the-clock is another unpaid overtime violation. This includes tasks performed before or after regular working hours, such as preparing for work, completing paperwork, or responding to work-related emails and calls without receiving proper compensation.
- Compensatory Time Off: Employers may offer compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay, especially in industries where non-monetary compensation is common. However, if employees are not given the choice or if they are coerced into taking compensatory time off instead of receiving overtime pay, it can be an unpaid overtime violation.
- Working Through Meal and Rest Breaks: If employees are consistently working through their designated meal and rest breaks without proper compensation, it can be an unpaid overtime violation. Employers are generally required to provide these breaks and compensate employees for any work performed during those periods.
- Failure to Pay for Travel Time: In certain situations, travel time for work-related activities, such as attending off-site meetings or traveling between job sites, may be considered compensable work time. Failure to compensate employees for such travel time can be a violation of overtime laws.
- Denial of Overtime Pay: Perhaps the most obvious sign of unpaid overtime violations is the outright denial of overtime pay. This can include employers refusing to pay overtime rates for hours worked beyond the designated threshold or attempting to manipulate records to avoid paying rightful overtime wages.
How a Louisiana Employment Lawyer Can Help with an Unpaid Overtime Claim
The law office of Robert B. Landry III PLC is dedicated to helping individuals with unpaid overtime claims in Louisiana. During your initial consultation, we will carefully evaluate the specifics of your case, including your work hours, pay records, and any potential violations of overtime laws. This evaluation allows us to determine the strength of your claim and provide you with informed legal advice.
Based on the findings of our investigation and the unique circumstances of your case, we will develop a strong legal strategy tailored to your specific needs. Attorney Landry will leverage his expertise in labor and employment laws to craft an effective approach that maximizes your chances of success in obtaining the compensation you deserve.
As an experienced employment lawyer, Robert B. Landry III has the skills and knowledge to represent you in negotiations with your employer. He will advocate for your rights, present evidence of unpaid overtime violations, and strive for a fair settlement. If negotiations are unsuccessful, he is prepared to take your case to court and provide strong legal representation throughout the litigation process.
At all times, the primary goal is to pursue maximum compensation on your behalf. Attorney Landry will diligently work to recover the unpaid overtime wages owed to you, including any back pay, liquidated damages, and potential attorney fees and costs. Our firm is committed to ensuring that you receive the full compensation you are entitled to under the law.
How Do I Know If My Position Is Exempt From Overtime?
Certain workers may be exempt from receiving overtime pay. To qualify for an exemption, employees must be paid a salary of at least $684 per week. Independent contractors may also be excluded from overtime pay as they are considered self-employed. However, if you are being treated like an employee despite being classified as a contractor, you may have legal rights.
The Department of Labor provides clear guidelines on exempt positions, which include:
- Executives overseeing at least two employees
- Administrative workers with managerial roles and independence
- Professional workers with specialized degrees or knowledge
- Creative professionals like theater workers and artists
- Computer employees like programmers and systems analysts
- Sales workers engaged in field sales or earning the majority of their income from commissions
- High-paid workers earning over $100,000 annually
- Certain safety personnel such as police, firefighters, and first responders essential to public safety
What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing an Overtime Claim?
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the statute of limitations for filing an overtime claim is generally two years from the date the violation occurred. However, if the violation was willful, meaning the employer knowingly and intentionally violated the law, the statute of limitations extends to three years. It’s important to consult with an employment lawyer to understand the specific statute of limitations that may apply to your situation, as there can be exceptions and variations based on individual circumstances and state laws.
Can I Recover Back Wages and Other Damages?
Yes, you may be able to recover back wages and other damages. The FLSA provides remedies for employees who have experienced wage and hour violations, including unpaid overtime. If successful in your claim, you may be entitled to recover the unpaid wages for the overtime hours worked, which typically includes the difference between what you were actually paid and what you should have been paid at the applicable overtime rate.
Additionally, you may be eligible to receive liquidated damages, which are equal to the amount of unpaid wages. However, it’s important to consult with an employment lawyer to understand the specific damages that may be available to you based on the circumstances of your case.
Can My Employer Retaliate Against Me for Filing a Claim?
No. The FLSA prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law, including making a complaint or participating in legal proceedings related to wage and hour violations.
Retaliation can take various forms, such as termination, demotion, reduction in hours or pay, harassment, or any other adverse employment action. If you experience retaliation for filing an FLSA claim, you may have additional legal protections and remedies available to you. It is crucial to consult with an employment lawyer to understand your rights and options in such situations.
Questions? Meet With the Best Employment Lawyers In Baton Rouge And New Orleans!
Unpaid overtime hurts employees in multiple ways. First, it denies them fair compensation for their additional work, leading to financial strain and a lack of reward for their efforts. Second, it infringes on their work-life balance, as the extra hours spent working go uncompensated and diminish valuable personal time. Lastly, it perpetuates a culture of exploitation, where employees may feel undervalued and taken advantage of, leading to job dissatisfaction and decreased morale.
If you believe that your employer is wrongfully withholding overtime pay, seeking legal assistance is essential to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve. Attorney Robert B. Landry III will evaluate your case, investigate potential violations, build a strong legal strategy, and represent you throughout negotiations or litigation. To schedule a consultation, call 225-349-7460 or use our online contact form. We look forward to helping you get justice.