Texas employees are generally fall within the overtime pay law under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) employees in Texas must receive 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for each hour of work in a workweek over forty hours, unless they qualify for a salary exemption or exception under the FLSA. Employees in Texas who do not receive proper overtime pay are entitled to recover the owed overtime pay. They may also recover attorney’s fees, costs, interest and in some cases liquidated damages (double the amount of unpaid overtime pay).
This post and this page discuss overtime exemptions and exceptions that apply to Texas employees; however, their application is not always obvious. An employer’s insistence that you do not receive overtime pay does not make it true. If you believe you may be entitled to overtime pay then you should talk to a Texas unpaid wages lawyer immediately.
Why you should talk to a Texas unpaid wages lawyer about overtime pay immediately
There are several good reasons why you should talk to a Texas employment lawyer about unpaid overtime pay right away. Most obviously, you should receive timely pay for your work. As a matter of labor law there is a very important reason to contact an employment lawyer immediately. Overtime pay claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act have a statute of limitations that attaches to each paycheck. The statute of limitations for overtime pay claims is two years. It extends to three years if the employer knowingly refused to pay overtime.
If you wait to talk to a Texas employment lawyer about overtime pay when you have not received overtime pay for a long time then each pay period that goes by with unpaid overtime pay is lost pay you may not be able to recover. Even if it has been less than two or three years it reduces the time available for your employment attorney to research your claims and try to negotiate with your employer to recover your pay.
Can my employer retaliate against me for talking to a Texas employment lawyer about overtime pay?
There is no specific protection under Texas or federal labor laws against retaliation for talking to a Texas employment lawyer. That does not mean your job is at risk for talking to a Texas labor attorney. If you raise a concern with your employer about not receiving overtime pay and mention talking to an employment attorney then your employer cannot retaliate against you for the larger complaint about overtime pay. Stating you will or already talked to an attorney as part of that discussion is protected as part of the larger prohibition on retaliation for complaining about unpaid overtime pay. (Assuming your complaint is in good faith.) So you should not fear talking to employment lawyers about your overtime pay situation.
If your employer retaliates for complaining about unpaid overtime pay then you have remedies by law. You may recover unpaid wages, attorney’s fees, costs and other monetary relief. Retaliation claims can result in larger sums of money than the underlying overtime pay claim. That is because the retaliation usually results in demotions or terminations where lost wages are much larger than unpaid overtime pay. An employee who suffers retaliation for complaining about unpaid overtime pay likely has both the overtime pay and retaliation claims against the employer.
Does Texas have its own overtime pay laws?
Yes and no. The Texas Labor Code incorporates several labor and pay statutes that relate to overtime pay issues. The Texas Labor Code specifically follows the Fair Labor Standards Act calculations of minimum wage and overtime pay. The Labor Code adds procedural rules for timely payment of wages, including overtime pay, but does not increase overtime pay. It also adds coverage of the FLSA calculations to employees in Texas not covered by the FLSA at FLSA rates.
That does not mean the Texas Labor Code adds overtime pay for employees overtime pay exempt under the FLSA. It means if the FLSA does not apply at all to you as an employee then the Texas Labor Code extends coverage. So yes, Texas has its own overtime pay laws, but they do not offer independent or additional overtime pay rights.