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Many businesses hire exempt employees to avoid paying additional hours for employees who work beyond the 40-hour workweek. If an employee is hired as a nonexempt employee, they must be paid for all hours worked. In particular, employees who work over 40 hours per week will need financial compensation equal to 1.5 times their hourly wage. The hourly pay X1.5 will be paid to employees who are not exempt but receive a salary.
Feldman Legal Group employment attorneys in Florida offer expert counsel and representation if you have been the victim of “wage theft.”
Why File a Report?
If you were not paid wage or overtime pay and are protected by the FLSA, contemplate filing a grievance for wage and hour violations. Many states have their own minimum wage requirements that are greater than the federal minimum. Your employer must pay whichever minimum is highest.
Similarly, the FLSA requires that employers pay “time and a half” overtime when an employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek. Take, for example, a worker making $9.00 an hour and working 50 hours a week. This employee would be entitled to overtime pay for ten hours he or she worked beyond 40 hours that week. Overtime pay must be at least one and a half times the hourly rate, or $13.50 an hour, in this case.
Employees who often claim back wages include cooks that were paid less than minimum wage and cashiers whose overtime and holiday wages were not reported properly on their paycheck. Workers who logged many hours and were paid in lump sums also have often been able to recover wages that didn’t meet the hourly minimum wage statute.
Filing a Wage and Hour Complaint
If you have been denied correct wages under the FLSA, you can file a complaint in person at an office of the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor by mail. Include the following information in your complaint:
- The employee’s personal information, including name, address and telephone number
- The employer’s name, address, telephone number and type of business
- The job title and description of work done
- Payment information that includes how much the employee is paid, the means of payment, and the frequency of payment.
- Dates of the violations
- A description of the alleged violations
After a complaint is filed, the WHD reviews the complaint and conducts an investigation, helping the employee recover back wages. The WHD will contact the complainant if more information is needed for them to pursue the allegation.
The identity of an employee who reports a complaint remains confidential and an employer cannot dismiss or discriminate against an employee who files legal proceedings under the FLSA.
Several states have extra protections for workers, which include higher minimum wages and overtime pay. Wage and hour complaints may be filed with state agencies.
Exempt vs. Nonexempt Employees
Exempt employees receive an annual salary without the ability to receive overtime pay where the non-exempt employee is non-exempt under the FLSA, and thus must be paid for any hours worked over 40/week. It is important to remember that exempt employees, even if they work on a federal holiday (i.e., New Year’s Day, Christmas, Presidents Day, etc.), are not eligible for additional compensation. However, if the exempt employee is forced to work on a federal holiday, then the employer facing the risk of having the exempt employee’s status automatically changed to non-exempt.
Non-exempt employees are paid at an hourly rate. As previously noted, if a non-exempt employee should work over 40 hours/week, that employee must be paid overtime for that extra time worked. Under the FLSA, the amount to be paid is 1.5 times the employee’s hourly rate. Therefore, if the employee generally makes $8/hour and works 45 hours in one week, the employee will be paid for the additional five hours at a rate of $12/hour.
Statute of Limitations
The earlier you file a complaint, the better. There is a statute of limitations of two years or three years for deliberate violations with the FSLA. The WHD advises filing no more than 18 months after the violation happened. The statutes of limitations for state laws vary but reporting a violation as early as possible is often recommended.
Have Specific Questions About How to Report Wage and Hour Violations? Ask a Lawyer.
A skilled lawyer can help you understand your rights under state and federal wage and overtime laws and may be able to help you pursue wages that have been wrongly withheld. If you have questions about your wages and hourly pay, contact an experienced employment attorney to discuss your situation.
Everyone deserves to be paid what their employer committed to.
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