What is “unauthorized overtime,” and do employees get paid for it?
Well, the short answer is always “yes,” you should receive compensation for any overtime you work. Anything else is illegal and unethical. In this post, we will discuss “unauthorized” overtime within the framework of employment law.
What is Unauthorized Overtime?
Overtime refers to any hours an employee works beyond the usual 40-hour week unless a specific state law requires overtime payment for work which exceeds eight hours per day. Employers often argue that overtime work was “unauthorized” if the employee didn’t request it, wasn’t scheduled for it, and the manager didn’t specifically agree to it in advance. This often happens in a variety of circumstances which include:
- Working late to cover unexpected work in an industrial environment.
- Having to cover part of the following shift or perform other tasks when the employer is short-handed.
- Employees work through unpaid meal periods. While an employer can reprimand them for this, they cannot withhold pay.
- Phone calls, emails, and/or texts that are work-related and received while not clocked into the timekeeping system.
The reason the threshold of 40 hours is significant is because after that point the non-exempt, hourly employees must receive additional overtime pay pursuant to the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) and state law. The only exceptions to such a rule are salaried, exempt employees such as managers, administrators, and other higher level executive roles.
If, for any reason, an employer tries to garnish your pay or withhold it because of overtime the employer deems to be unauthorized, it violates the law. Contact an employment attorney when you cannot resolve the matter with your employer.
Penalties for NOT Paying Overtime Wages
Regardless of whether an employer authorized the overtime hours, the employer is legally required to pay for all hours worked. Employers which violate the overtime laws can be held liable for unpaid wages, double the unpaid wages for liquidated damages, interest, and attorney’s fees and costs. Further, in some states, an employer may have to pay triple damages if the employer willfully violated the overtime laws.
Beware of ALL Violations of Employee Pay Laws
The Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC strongly recommends that all hourly wage employees arm themselves with a basic understanding of their employment-related wage rights. Part of that involves understanding the most common employer pay practices that violate the law.
Some of those include:
- Unpaid overtime of any sort, in any state, for non-exempt employees.
- Employers forcing or even just asking an employee to work without being on the clock.
- Earning less than minimum wage, which is $7.25 nationally, but sometimes higher depending on your state of residence.
- Receiving pay as an independent contractor when you’re expected to follow all the rules and guidelines of an employee.
- Illegal paycheck deductions for things like work supplies, lunch breaks, or appraisal fees.
Get Help with Unauthorized Overtime Disputes from Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC
So, the big takeaway is that you don’t have to tolerate wage underpayments just because an employer doesn’t fully authorize such hours. After all, even if the employer doesn’t authorize the work beyond 40 hours, employers must legally compensate employees for all overtime work.
If you’re having trouble with your employer regarding overtime pay, then you have nothing to lose by calling us for a free consultation. Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC will review your case, and determine your best option to recover any unpaid wages including overtime.
Contact the Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC today to learn more about unauthorized overtime and how you can collect money for all unpaid overtime.