Overtime Pay in Tennessee
Overtime violations are some of the most common wage and hour disputes between workers and their employers. All Tennessee workers are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week, with a few specific exceptions. Unfortunately, being fairly compensated for extra labor doesn’t always happen the way it should.
Almost every Tennessee employee is covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). But sometimes employers skirt the law to get around paying workers fair wages. Other times, they don’t understand the provisions of the FLSA and end up shorting an entire group of employees their rightful compensation.
Overtime wages belong to employees by law. If an employer fails to give them to you, it’s “wage theft.” Wage theft occurs when an employer fails to give employee money they are entitled to by law — money that belongs to the employee and the employer has no right to keep.
A Trusted Nashville Employment Attorney Will Fight For You
If you are struggling to get the overtime pay you deserve, reach out to a Nashville wage and hour attorney at The Employment and Consumer Law Group. Our experienced lawyers keep up to date with all FLSA requirements governing overtime pay and your rights as a worker.
We have recovered millions of dollars for unpaid overtime to workers.
We’ll work with you to determine whether you are getting the pay you are owed. Then we’ll work hard to get any money you may be entitled to for unpaid overtime. If your employer is unwilling to comply, our tough trial lawyers are prepared to take the case to court.
Exempt Vs. Non-Exempt Workers
Not all employees are entitled to overtime pay. The key point to know is whether the worker is classified as exempt or non-exempt.
Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime compensation. To qualify as exempt, they must meet certain criteria, such as:
- Being paid on a salary, not hourly, basis
- Earning $455 a week (this will change to $684 per week on Jan. 1, 2020)
- Performing professional, executive or administrative duties
Examples of professions that are commonly exempt from overtime rules include doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses and other jobs that require advanced training.
Non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime. Non-exempt employees may:
- Be paid a salaried or hourly wage
- Earn any amount of income
- Work in any profession
Workers who do not meet the specific requirements for the exemptions under the overtime law are entitled to overtime pay.
Understanding Time And A Half
Time and a half refers to the amount of money that an employee’s wage should be increased for any hours worked beyond 40 each week. Qualified workers are entitled to 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for those extra hours.
One of the ways that employers try to avoid paying overtime is by shifting an employee’s workweek around periodically. If the change is intended to be permanent, that’s generally allowed under the law. But if it keeps happening, you may have a wage and hour claim. The lawyers at The Employment and Consumer Law Group can evaluate your circumstances and determine whether you are being shortchanged.
Calculating Overtime for Hourly and Salaried Workers
Calculating overtime for a non-exempt hourly worker is fairly straightforward. If the employee works more than 40 hours, employers should multiply the worker’s hourly wage by 1.5 for any of the extra hours.
A little more math is required for non-exempt salaried workers. To determine overtime rate for salaried employees:
- Convert the salaried employee’s wages into the equivalent hourly wage. This is done by dividing the weekly salary amount by the number of hours the pay is intended to cover.
- Once this number is calculated, you can calculate what the employee should have received in overtime pay.
The calculations can get very complex depending on the worker’s wage arrangement. For example, additional amounts must be accounted for and included in the calculations if an employee works on a tip or commission basis. Also, each case is very fact specific — there are no “bright line” rules for how much an employee should receive in overtime.
Many times, Tennessee workers aren’t sure whether they’re entitled to overtime or not. Even if they are, they may not know how much overtime they are actually entitled to.
In addition to the overtime pay, employees are usually entitled to “liquidated” or “double” damages as well as any attorney fees they incur as a result of enforcing their rights.
It is also illegal for employers to terminate employees for asking about or seeking to enforce their right to overtime pay. If an employer retaliates against an employee for inquiring about or attempting to enforce their overtime pay, then they may be liable to the employee for even more damages such as lost wages, emotional stress and future wages. This would come in addition to the double damages and attorney fees.
Working with a knowledgeable employment lawyer can help clarify matters and develop a strategy to right any wrongs.
Ways That Employers Try To Beat The Overtime System
It’s unfortunate, but there are strategies that some employers use to deliberately avoid providing overtime compensation to their workers.
- Misclassifying workers as exempt to deny them overtime pay
- Denying employees overtime pay simply because they are salaried
- Offering “time off” for extra hours worked rather than overtime
- Not paying non-exempt employees overtime in violation of the FLSA
- Counting necessary work preparations (like putting on safety gear before starting a job) as “off the clock”
- Having the worker perform both exempt and non-exempt duties
As a worker, you have the right to work for an employer who pays you properly. When that doesn’t happen, you also have the right to hold them accountable for it.
How Our Wage and Hour Lawyers Can Help
At The Employment and Consumer Law Group, our attorneys focus exclusively on making sure that Tennessee workers are being treated fairly in the workplace. If you’re putting more time in on the job and not getting compensated for it, you need us.
We know that going up against an employer can be an intimidating task. All of us work to live. We don’t want to lose our jobs by filing a complaint against our employer. That’s where our lawyers come in.
Getting back pay doesn’t have to be a contentious process. Sometimes it’s a matter of making the employer aware of the law and how it has been violated. In matters that are trickier, having an attorney by your side can demonstrate that your claim should be taken seriously and force the employer to comply with the law.
It costs nothing to learn about your legal options. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.