Employers have to fairly compensate their workers based on the services they provide and how many hours they work. Under federal overtime laws, anyone who puts in more than 40 hours in a workweek should receive at least 150% of their average hourly wage unless they are exempt.
Typically, workers paid on an hourly basis qualify for overtime, while many but not all workers paid on a salary basis are exempt from overtime pay. Despite clear rules about the right of workers to overtime wages, many companies will still attempt to unfairly deny staff members overtime pay.
What are some of the sneaky ways that companies violate your right to compensation for working overtime?
They intentionally misclassify you
Salaried workers aren’t the only ones often exempt from overtime pay. Independent contractors have no right to workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment benefits or overtime pay. Your employer may treat you like a typical employee but illegally misclassify you as a contractor to get out of their responsibilities to you as your employer.
They have a no-overtime policy
Employers don’t want to spend more than they need to on staffing, and overtime wages are obviously much more expensive than standard hourly rates. Some companies will institute a no-overtime policy and then try to unfairly enforce it on their workers.
If the company scheduled you for overtime or required that you stay late at a shift and put in more than 40 hours in a week, they should pay you accordingly. Some businesses will go so far as to change payroll records to avoid overtime obligations when workers put in more than 40 hours.
They train you to work off the clock
As soon as you start a new position at a retail job or a restaurant, the person training you starts explaining the unique things the company does, like expecting you to come in 10 minutes before your shift starts to do cleaning or prep work.
They might also expect you to stay late on certain days or to come in on a day off without pay to do a deep clean of the facility. Any of these practices would constitute a violation of your pay rights, even if the company tried to tell you that following these practices makes you valuable and a team player.
If any of the three scenarios above sounds like something you have experienced at work, then your employer may have violated your rights. Pursuing a wage claim over unpaid overtime can compensate you and prompt your employer to change their questionable payroll practices.