Wage and Hour Claims – Forced Overtime

Were you paid for working overtime?

You spend a lot of time at work and you work extremely hard for your pay.  You deserve all of the payment to which you are legally entitled. Employers in today’s tough economy are under pressure to cheat, avoid, abolish, or lower wage and benefit costs. However, these practices are generally illegal. Unless you fit the criteria of an “exempt” employee, your workplace must compensate you with overtime wages, or, pay for any hours that you work over 40 hours in a single workweek. Your employer must pay you time-and-a-half for overtime hours; which is at least one and one-half times your normal hourly pay. This also means that any overtime hours worked in a single workweek have to be paid on the payday that covers the same period in which the overtime was worked.  No matter what you may have been told, your employer cannot alter overtime laws or avoid paying overtime through a no-overtime policy or special compromise. Your employer is required to pay you according to the statutes of the law.

Employers often attempt to avoid paying overtime, which is a violation of the law.  Employers may misclassify employees as “exempt,” have employees work off the clock, or refuse to pay employees for certain hours worked, which may include putting on or away required uniforms or equipment. Similarly, an employee cannot refuse their right to receive overtime payment under the FSLA.  So, if an employer negotiates a deal or compromise allowing the employee to work off the clock for any reason, the employer is still required by law to pay the overtime wages.  Employers also may not pay full wages to their employees or they may pay below minimum wage, which is another illegal wage violation. In similar cases, employers sometimes do not pay any wages at all which often leads to minimum wage law violations. An employment lawyer will fight for the reimbursement of your unpaid back pay.

Violations Explained

Overtime pay is often not paid at all or it is improperly calculated. Non-exempt employees must be paid overtime pay.  Regardless of the type of pay period, employers must calculate overtime on the actual 40-hour workweek and they cannot average hours over several weeks.  Another violation that employer may use is setting a rule that permits overtime work or permits pay for overtime work unless it is authorized in advance.  Employers may use this tactic as a way of ignoring the overtime hours worked by hourly employees.  Being paid for compensatory time instead of being paid for overtime can be another law violation.  Comp time is paid time off which is sometimes granted to employees instead of overtime compensation.  At times, this can be legal, but the comp pay must be paid at a rate of time-and-a-half (150%), which is the same rate as overtime pay.

Employers often misclassify employees as exempt from receiving overtime wages.  Whether or not an employee is exempt can be confusing, however, rest assured it does not have anything to do with job description, title, or salary versus hourly pay.  Employers also often misclassify contract employees in order to cut their costs.  If, as a contract employee, the company controls what you do and how you do it, you may technically be considered an employee.  Thus, you may not be receiving correct compensation for your overtime pay and even employee benefits.

Other violations include: rounding down work time to the nearest fifteen minute increment, being asked to work through unpaid periods such as meal times and breaks without receiving pay, not paying for work that may occur before or after you actually start performing your actual duties, not paying overtime simply because of a title such as assistant manager, not paying overtime for required work done while not clocked in or not paying overtime when you spend less than half of your time at work managing others.

To inquire about your employment law rights or discuss your potential case with an experienced wage and hour attorney today, contact attorney Chris Dixon.  Call 314.409.7060 or 855.402.7274. You deserve the pay that you are legally entitled to for the work you’ve done, take the first step to justice and call attorney Chris Dixon today.

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Reach out to Chris Dixon for personal injury, workers compensation, product liability, and other legal services for experienced, reliable counsel and representation in St. Louis.

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