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3 ways employers try to avoid responsibility for overtime wages

Overtime wages are valuable assets to workers who commit long hours to their jobs. However, they often seem like a burden to employers. Many companies go to great lengths to avoid their legal responsibility to pay certain, non-exempt workers 150% of their average hourly wages if they put in more than 40 hours in a given work week or otherwise meet overtime criteria as outlined within the state’s legal codes.

Unfortunately, workers often fail to recognize the misconduct and manipulations of their employers. They accept actions that constitute wage theft instead of demanding what they rightfully deserve. Those who learn about some of the most common tactics used to manipulate workers out of claiming overtime pay may be in a better position to fight back against such behavior. These are some of the ways that companies may inappropriately deny workers overtime pay.

Paying inappropriately low salaries

There is a myth that companies only have to pay overtime to hourly workers. However, workers paid on a salary basis are also often eligible for overtime pay. If the salary a company offers does not meet the current threshold for exemption, then the worker should receive overtime wages when they put in more than 40 hours. Currently, as of 2019, that threshold is $35,568. That breaks down to $684 per week. Workers receiving less than that have a right to expect overtime pay.

Instituting no-overtime policies

Some companies try to trick workers into thinking they cannot claim overtime pay because of company rules. No corporate policy supersedes federal law, despite what a business may tell its workers. If a worker has put in more than 40 hours and is not exempt, it does not matter that the company has an internal policy against paying overtime. The worker should still be able to collect time-and-a-half for the hours worked past 40 even if they failed to get management approval or meet other standards imposed by the company.

Telling workers to do their jobs off the clock

Workers should receive pay for whatever time they put in on the job. Any regular work duties should add toward an employee’s total time on the job and therefore increase the compensation that they receive. Companies that demand that workers do certain tasks before they start a shift or after finishing a shift wrongfully deprive those workers of the overtime wages they probably deserve, especially if they put in nearly 40 hours every week.

When workers recognize that their employers have violated their rights, they can take the issue up with those employers. If an employer does not resolve the situation in a satisfactory way, then they could potentially take the matter to civil court. Ultimately, it may take seeking legal guidance to learn more about common ways that companies commit wage violations in order to sufficiently protect workers from overtime wage theft and allow those affected to benefit from justice served.