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Unpaid Overtime FAQ

Published December 14, 2020 by Employment and Commerce Law Group
Unpaid Overtime FAQs

Tennessee employers are expected to abide by federal overtime laws or face stiff penalties. Despite this fact, many hardworking Tennesseans run into disputes with their employers regarding overtime pay.

It can be difficult to understand the complexities of wage laws, especially where overtime is concerned. The Nashville wage and hour lawyers at the Employment and Commerce Law Group have compiled a list of the most frequently asked unpaid overtime questions below. If you need more specific help, call or contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Overtime Questions and Answers

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

The FLSA is a federal labor law enacted by the United States government in 1938. It establishes a nationwide minimum wage as well as the right to overtime pay for non-exempt employees who work for more than 40 hours in a single workweek.

The FLSA also places restrictions on the employment of minors and forbids employers from retaliating against workers who raise FLSA-related concerns. However, the law does not place restrictions on many other important labor or payment practices.

Who is exempt from FLSA-mandated overtime pay?

Most employees are entitled to overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in one pay week, but certain workers are exempt, including:

  • Salespeople who work on commission
  • Certain drivers, farmworkers, computer professionals, automobile mechanics, cargo loaders, and car salespeople
  • Executive, administrative, professional, or outside sales employees who earn a fixed salary of at least $23,660 per year
  • Most interns, part-time workers, independent contractors, temp workers, volunteers, and trainees

Keep in mind that the FLSA considers your actual job duties rather than your title or employment contract to determine your exemption status. Even if you are salaried and your employer classifies you as exempt, you could still be legally entitled to overtime pay.

Can my employer require mandatory overtime hours?

Yes. The FLSA does not establish a maximum number of hours that an employer can require in a given pay week. It also does not require employers to offer higher rates for weekend, nighttime, or holiday work and does not mandate compensation for rest breaks, sick days, or vacation time.

The law only requires employers to provide overtime pay for all hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek. Overtime wages must be paid out at a minimum rate of one and one-half times a worker’s regular hourly rate, and employers cannot legally avoid paying overtime by offering alternatives like “lump sum” payments or bonuses. Not paying overtime is illegal for employers of non-exempt workers, even if those workers fail to obtain approval beforehand.

How Do I Know If I Have a Case?

If you suspect that your employer is not paying you the overtime wages you deserve, you have the right to pursue damages from them in court. The best way to determine whether you have an unpaid overtime case is to consult with experienced wage and hour lawyers like the attorneys at the Employment and Commerce Law Group.

In some cases, unscrupulous employers may deny overtime wages to whole groups of workers, leading to potential grounds for a class-action lawsuit. An attorney can help you determine which course of action is best for you and ensure your case is filed before the FLSA’s two-year statute of limitations for legal action expires.

What the Employment and Commerce Law Group Can Do for Me

The Employment and Commerce Law Group is staffed by knowledgeable and relentless employment attorneys who are committed to demanding justice for workers throughout Nashville and greater Tennessee. Our legal team can help you understand your rights and recover the compensation you’re owed in a free consultation.

Call or contact us today to get started. There’s no obligation, so there’s nothing to lose.

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