Unpaid Overtime (Fair Labor Standards Act)

Federal and Ohio Unpaid Overtime Attorneys

As Federal and Ohio unpaid overtime attorneys located in Columbus, Ohio and Toledo, Ohio, we advocate on behalf of employees throughout Ohio who are not paid properly. Whether you are an individual employee or a group of employees facing similar improper pay issues, call the federal and Ohio unpaid overtime attorneys at Bryant Legal, LLC to discuss whether or not you are entitled to unpaid wages.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), codified as 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and federal, state, and local governments.  Ohio has similar overtime requirements.

Under Federal and Ohio law, everyone is entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times (1.5 times) the employee’s regular rate of pay when he or she works over 40 hours in any workweek unless the employee is specifically exempted under the law. In the event you are told you are “exempt” because you are compensated on a salary basis or due to some other alleged exemption, you may still be entitled to overtime wages if your primary job duties consist of non-exempt work. A more in-depth explanation of the misclassification of employees can be found here. If you are not compensated at the overtime rate, you have a number of remedies under federal and Ohio law.

With respect to the remedies available to employees who are owed unpaid overtime wages, the two main categories (as well as a section prohibiting retaliation) are listed below:

1.  Unpaid Overtime

For example, if your normal rate of pay is $10 per hour and you work 50 hours per week, the hours in excess of 40 should be paid at the overtime rate of 1.5 times the regular rate. In this example, the 10 hours worked above 40 should be paid at $15 per hour. In the event you are paid your regular rate of pay (instead of the overtime rate), your damages consist of the difference between regular vs. overtime rate. If you are not paid at all simply because your employer does not feel like paying it, your damages would be the entire amount of unpaid hours multiplied by the overtime rate of pay (10 x $15 per hour). Although it may not be worth considering legal action for a couple of hours of unpaid overtime for a week, missing hours add up quickly over the course of your employment relationship. Under the FLSA, you can recover up to 3 years of unpaid overtime wages. As a result, you could be missing a lot more of your hard-earned unpaid compensation than you think, especially if you have worked at your place of employment for a couple of years.

Thus, you should always accurately record and report your hours (whether that is through clocking in/out, reporting them to your supervisor in writing, or some other record-keeping method) even if your supervisor instructs you to not report the hours you worked in excess of 40. After all, you worked the hours and federal and Ohio law require you to be paid for them.

2.  Liquidated Damages

Why is it important to accurately record and report your hours? If your employer violates the FLSA, you can recover not only your unpaid overtime wages, but also an award called “liquidated damages.” Liquidated damages are intended to compensate you for being deprived of your wages from the time they were owed to the time of your award. An amount of liquidated damages is equal to the amount you are owed in unpaid wages. For this reason, liquidated damages are often referred to as “double damages.” For example, if your employer failed to pay you $15,000 in overtime wages over the course of your employment, you are entitled to pursue the recovery of an additional $15,000 as liquidated damages, for a total of $30,000. Therefore, the amount of liquidated damages is dependent upon the accurate recording and reporting of unpaid overtime wages.

Retaliation is Prohibited

As a reminder, the FLSA also prohibits retaliation against an employee by the employer.  Section 15(a)(3) of the FLSA states that it is a violation for any person to “discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this Act, or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding, or has served or is about to serve on an industry committee.” 

Importantly, employees are protected regardless of whether the complaint is made orally or in writing. A classic example occurs when an employee reports that he or she worked over 40 hours in a week, so the employee expects to be paid overtime. Then, the supervisor instructs the employee to stop reporting the hours while at the same time requesting that the employee continue working the hours. The employee reports the hours and, in response, the employer disciplines the employee resulting in suspension, demotion, or termination. This example would likely constitute retaliation. Complaints made to the Wage and Hour Division are also protected.

In the event you believe you have not been properly paid overtime wages, please contact an contact a Columbus or Toledo Ohio unpaid overtime attorney at Bryant Legal, LLC to discuss whether you are entitled to unpaid wages.

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