Ohio Overtime Lawyers
Cleveland Wage & Hour Attorneys
ARE YOU BEING DENIED THE OVERTIME PAY YOU DESERVE?
Employers often make mistakes regarding your right to receive overtime compensation in connection with your employment. These mistakes can cost you the overtime pay you deserve. Under the “Fair Labor Standards Act” (FLSA), if you work more than 40 hours per week, generally you are entitled to time and a half for the additional time, even if your normal pay is not calculated by the hour.
Some of the most common employer violations are:
Working Off the Clock
The FLSA defines the term “employ” to include the words “suffer or permit to work.” Suffer or permit to work means that if an employer knows employees are working, even if the employer did not request the work, the employees’ time spent is generally considered compensable time worked. Thus, time spent doing work not requested by the employer, but still allowed, is generally hours worked, since the employer knows or has reason to know that the employees are continuing to work. After all the employer is benefiting from the work, so employees should be paid for that time. Another common mistake is the automatic deduction for meal breaks or other breaks that employees routinely do not enjoy. If you do not actually receive an uninterrupted break, then you should be paid for that time.
In a recent case our office pursued an hourly worker spent an enormous amount of time completing her assigned tasks because her employer over-loaded her with work. Much of the extra work was performed at home after normal working hours. Even though she failed to log the time in the employer’s time keeping system, her supervisors knew or had reason to know she was working the excessive hours. The case ultimately resulted in compensation being paid to the employee.
Many employees with job titles such as “assistant manager” or “shift supervisor” are told they are not eligible to receive overtime, as they are exempt from overtime. Recently, several overtime cases have been filed on behalf of assistant managers whose primary duty is not management. Assistant managers or shift supervisors who do not regularly supervise two or more employees, do not have the authority to hire or fire employees, or spend the majority of their time performing the same duties as the employees they supervise may be eligible for overtime pay. Many employees who are classified as exempt by their employers do not actually qualify for the claimed exemption, and so must be paid overtime for hours in excess of 40 in a work week.
In an effort to cut costs, many employers also improperly classify workers as “independent contractors.” This misclassification scheme is used to wrongfully deny workers minimum wage, overtime compensation, retirement and/or health benefits, FICA taxes, workers’ compensation, and unemployment compensation. The employer’s use of a Form 1099 does not automatically make an individual an independent contractor under the overtime and minimum wage laws. Even if you signed a contract agreeing that you are an independent contractor that will not shield your employer from liability, because your rights under the FLSA cannot be waived.
In one recent case, the employer learned the hard way the perils of misclassification. The employer, and energy sales company, misclassified its door-to-door workers as exempt from minimum wage and overtime laws, claiming that they were independent contractors and also qualified for the outside sales emption. Unfortunately for the employer neither excuse held water when examined under the harsh light of a federal lawsuit. A jury ultimately rejected the employer’s attempt to avoid paying its employees.
Required Uniform/Protective Clothing
In jobs that require employees to wear uniforms or other gear necessary to the job, employees can spend a significant amount of time each day “donning and doffing” (i.e., putting on and taking off) their gear. In most cases, employees should be paid for this time. If your employer requires you to wear special gear and you are not paid for the time you spend putting it on and taking it off, you may be entitled to recover overtime pay.
Waiting for Work
Time an employee is required to be present at work, even if waiting for a task to be assigned, is considered time worked. A person hired to do nothing or to wait for something to do is still working. Employees subject to the FLSA must be paid for all the time spent in physical or mental exertion (whether burdensome or not) controlled or required by the employer and pursued necessarily and primarily for the benefit of the employer.
Contact Our Ohio Overtime and Wage & Hour Attorneys
Our firm represents clients in Cleveland, throughout Ohio and across the United States. To schedule a free initial consultation, e-mail our office describing your circumstances, or call us at 216-830-1000.