Unpaid Overtime Class Actions in Tennessee
Many workers don’t realize it, but wage theft is a serious issue that demands attention. Unpaid overtime is one of the most common examples. According to a recent report by Forbes, 1 in 10 employees put in more than 20 hours of free work per week. This is unacceptable.
While federal law requires most employers to provide overtime pay when an employee works more than 40 hours per week, they sometimes misclassify workers as exempt from overtime rules. Sometimes, it’s intentional. Other times, employers simply don’t understand the rules. In either case, the net result is workers not being paid fairly for their extra labor.
Unfortunately, getting compensation for unpaid overtime is often a challenge. One solution is for employees to band together in a class-action lawsuit to find justice. If you suspect you’ve been denied overtime pay, contact the Employment and Commerce Law Group as soon as possible. Our Tennessee lawyers exclusively work on unpaid overtime cases and related issues, giving us in-depth knowledge and experience you won’t find at other firms. To learn more about our services, contact our Nashville office for a free initial consultation.
Can an Employer Get in Trouble for Not Paying Overtime?
As Tennessee lacks its own minimum wage laws, there are few state-level regulations regarding overtime. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) generally determines the overtime rules. The FLSA says that most employees must be paid extra if they work more than 40 hours per week.
Some workers believe this rule only applies to hourly jobs, but it also applies to salaried employees. While your employer can require you to work more than 40 hours per week, when they do, you must be compensated accordingly.
There are a few categories of workers exempt from overtime rules under the FLSA. These include:
- Railroad workers
- Some workers in the transportation industry (e.g., truck drivers)
- Certain salaried workers, particularly managers
- White-collar workers who meet income standards determined by the Department of Labor
- Workers who solely perform administrative or executive duties
- “Learned professionals” in certain industries requiring advanced knowledge or training (e.g., lawyers, doctors, and engineers)
How Does an Unpaid Overtime Class-Action Lawsuit Work?
One tactic to even the playing field in an overtime dispute is for multiple employees to join together and file a class-action suit against their employer. In a class action, parties who’ve suffered similar mistreatment or injuries combine their individual claims into a single case, allowing them to pool their resources while seeking fair compensation for each specific plaintiff. An attorney or group of lawyers can work on the same problem for multiple people.
An employer might be able to beat back a single unpaid overtime claim, but when a group of workers comes forward at once to make similar claims, the employer will have a much harder time refuting the allegations. Should the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit prevail, every plaintiff is eligible to receive compensation for the harm they’ve suffered. In other words, class actions allow multiple victims to claim compensation at the same time instead of waiting for each individual claim to make its way through the court system.
Do I Qualify for a Class-Action Lawsuit?
The first step to determine if you qualify for a class action is to determine whether you are eligible for overtime. It’s key to remember that your job duties and compensation determine your eligibility for overtime, not your job title. Employers commonly misclassify employees as exempt from overtime rules, even when their job duties dictate that they should be paid overtime. Talking to an attorney with experience in workers’ rights cases can help you learn whether you’ve been unfairly denied overtime pay.
Assuming that you do qualify for overtime pay and you haven’t been paid according to the law, the next step is to see whether anyone else at your job has experienced a similar injustice. If so, the group might qualify as a class and be eligible for a class-action lawsuit. It’s also possible to qualify for a class action by adding your name to a suit that’s already been filed. An attorney can determine whether you already have a qualified group.
How Far Back Can I Claim Unpaid Overtime?
According to the federal Department of Labor guidelines, the statute of limitations for unintentional unpaid overtime violations is two years. This means that you can claim up to two years of unpaid overtime wages through a class action.
That said, there’s a longer statute of limitations for claims in which the employer withheld overtime pay intentionally. In cases involving an employer’s willful violation of overtime laws, the statute of limitations is three years. This means you could potentially claim an additional year of back pay through a lawsuit.
Contact Our Employment Law and Class Action Attorneys in Nashville
Every worker deserves to be paid fairly for their labor, including you. That includes full pay for all the hours you worked. If you’ve been illegally denied overtime pay in Nashville, the Employment and Commerce Law Group can help you demand the money you deserve.
Our in-depth knowledge and experience with unpaid overtime cases and class-action lawsuits make us the ideal firm to handle your claim. You can count on our Nashville employment attorneys to treat you with dignity, respect, and compassion throughout the claims process. Get your free initial consultation by calling our office or visiting our contact page today.