Your right to overtime pay comes from state and federal rules. The law is clear that workers who put in more than 40 hours in a specific workweek should receive at least one-and-a-half times their typical hourly wage for those additional hours. Workers are often enthusiastic about overtime work because it will mean a big bump in their paychecks.
Of course, paying workers overtime is very expensive for an employer. The costs involved with overtime make some employers go to extreme lengths to avoid paying overtime wages to their staff. Some companies have very strict scheduling policies and will hold managers accountable if they make mistakes that result in overtime pay.
Other times, companies will try to unfairly deny workers the overtime pay they do earn. What are two of the ways that a company could try to deprive you of your overtime compensation?
They claim you are exempt when you are not
Some workers are exempt from overtime pay requirements because of their employment status or the contract they have with their employer. Independent contractors are one example. They are self-employed and therefore cannot demand overtime wages. Companies may intentionally misclassify an employee as an independent contractor just to avoid paying them overtime.
Companies may also pay workers on a salary basis and claim that exempts them, but low wages don’t always protect an employer from overtime responsibilities. If your employer doesn’t pay you at least $684 per week or $35,568 per year, then you still have the right to overtime wages despite your salary.
They change the time clock records
Even if your employer has a written policy against working overtime, they have no legal right to deny someone payment for the time that they have actually worked.
Some managers or human resources professionals may take it upon themselves to alter time clock records so that the company does not have to pay a specific person overtime wages. Such changes are wage theft and a violation of an hourly worker’s basic rights.
Learning more about the ways that companies deny their workers a fair wage and overtime pay can help you identify if you have been the victim of this kind of misconduct.