Overtime Pay Lawyers
Texas overtime lawyers represent clients in unpaid wage claims related to unpaid overtime pay. Non-exempt workers are entitled to receive 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for each hour worked over forty in a workweek. Unfortunately, employers often intentionally and unintentionally fail to pay overtime due to their workers. If you believe your employer may have underpaid you, then you should talk to Texas wage law attorneys right away.
Calculating overtime pay in Texas
In Texas non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay under the legal formula. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Texas Minimum Wage Act determine the minimum wage and overtime pay rates. As a worker in Texas you are entitled to:
- Receive your hourly rate for each hour worked;
- Receive overtime pay at one and a half times your regular rate of pay; and
- To receive no less than minimum wage (for most employees).
Texas follows the federal minimum wage set in the FLSA; however, overtime pay is calculated against your regular rate of pay not minimum wage or your regular hourly rate. Your regular rate of pay includes many other forms of compensation, including certain bonuses and commissions. Your employer cannot reduce your rate of pay for overtime calculations to reduce your overtime pay rate. Whatever your regular rate of pay, you must receive one and a half times the regular rate for each hour of overtime pay. Your employer cannot offer you comp time instead of overtime pay unless you work for a government employer.
Overtime pay calculations under the FLSA and Texas Minimum Wage Act require you to receive overtime pay for all time worked over forty hours in a workweek–not a pay cycle. Your employer cannot group workweeks together to average hours across the pay cycle or shift hours from one week to the next to avoid paying you overtime pay.
Employers also may not cut off hours to avoid overtime pay. If you work the time, you must receive pay. Some of the time employers try to shave off your work hours to avoid overtime include:
- Asking you to work through your lunch or engaging you in work during an unpaid lunch or break;
- Making you clock out for breaks of twenty minutes or less;
- Requiring you to clock out but remain at work waiting to work but not performing active duties;
- Preparation time at the start of your shift;
- Volunteer time required by your employer;
- Phone calls, emails and video chats while off the clock;
- Off duty happy hours or other non-work activities you are required to attend;
- Certain travel time for work functions;
- Time spent working at home.
You are entitled to pay for all time spent working, even if your employer did not pre-approve the time before you worked it. Although employers can require overtime approval and discipline employees who do not receive approval, you must be paid for work time nevertheless.
If you believe your employer incorrectly calculated your regular rate of pay or adjusted your work hours to avoid overtime pay, you should talk to Texas overtime lawyers right away.
Who are overtime exempt employees?
Some employees are not entitled to overtime pay by law. The Fair Labor Standards Act classifies certain classes of employees as exempt from overtime pay requirements. An employee is not exempt from overtime just because the employer says so or because they receive a salary. Although the most common overtime exemption is for certain salaried employees, you may receive a salary and still be entitled to overtime pay. Employers frequently misclassify employees as exempt because they receive a salary or by alleging they meet one of the other exempt classifications under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Employees who are exempt on a salaried basis must work as an executive, administrator, professional, creative, computer employee, or outside sales employee. FLSA regulations define what jobs fall within these classifications and the additional requirements necessary to become exempt on a salaried basis.
An employee correctly classified as salaried exempt may become non-exempt through payroll and timekeeping practices. Salaried exempt employees are paid a salary for performing their job rather than working a specific schedule of hours. If the employer treats salaried exempt employees like non-exempt hourly employee, it can destroy the overtime exemption. This can include practices like requiring the employee to clock in and out or docking pay for partial day absences.
Some jobs are specifically exempt under the law, such as computer professionals, commissioned salespeople, outside salespeople, farmworkers, learned professionals (such as lawyers and doctors) and creative professionals (such as artists and musicians). Employers also attempt to misclassify employees within these exempt jobs; however, just because your job is similar to the specific jobs exempted by the FLSA does not mean your job is exempt.
If you suspect you have been misclassified as overtime exempt or you receive a salary but your employer treats you like an hourly worker, you should talk to Texas overtime lawyers. They can assess your situation and talk to you about your options to recover unpaid overtime pay.
Independent contractor misclassification
Another common way employers shortchange employees on overtime pay is by misclassifying you as an independent contractor instead of an employee. Independent contractors are not covered by the FLSA so they do not have to be paid minimum wage or overtime pay. A worker is not an independent contractor just because the employer says so. FLSA regulations define an independent contractor within a workplace relationship. If your job does not meet the FLSA test, then you must be paid as an employee.
Often employers misclassify workers as independent contractors intentionally to avoid employment laws. Your employer may want to avoid paying overtime pay, employee benefits, workers’ compensation, safety regulations, employment taxes and employment discrimination laws. If your employer classified you as an independent contractor, you should talk to Texas overtime lawyers about whether you are due overtime pay and benefits.
Schedule a consultation with Texas overtime lawyers
If you suspect your employer failed to pay overtime required by law, you should talk to Texas overtime lawyers. Overtime pay can be a significant amount of your compensation, especially if it calculates into bonuses and benefit contributions. You can recover unpaid overtime pay and other money damages on your unpaid wage claim. If you did not receive overtime pay due, it is likely your coworkers have the same problem and you may be able to pursue a class action against your employer. Schedule a consultation with an overtime lawyer who can investigate your case and advise you of your rights.