How Your Employer Is Stealing Your Overtime Pay
Do you work over 40 hours per week? Are you classified as a non-exempt employee? Are you being paid at least 1.5 your normal rate for every extra hour worked?
As an employee, it is important that you understand the laws regarding overtime. If you are not familiar with these rules, your employer could be taking money from your pocket without you even realizing it. A 2018 report found that nearly 500 well-known companies have been fined over $1 million in penalties for wage theft. If your employer has been requiring you work overtime without fair compensation, you could be entitled to back pay.
West Virginia’s Overtime Laws
West Virginia’s overtime laws under WV Code Sec. 21-5C-3(a) are the same as the federal standard, which means you are entitled to overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours a week and are a non-exempt employee.
A non-exempt employee is someone who is not excluded from minimum wage and overtime regulations. Most employees fall under this category. It is usually only executives, managers, salesmen, and niche-industry employees who qualify as exempt.
Keep in mind that you are not entitled to overtime even if you work over eight hours a day. Your total work hours must be over 40 hours for the week.
Ways Your Employer Can Violate Your Overtime
There are numerous ways for an employer to game the system and deny you overtime pay. This is either because they don’t understand the law or are counting on the fact that you don’t know it. This is why it is important to familiarize yourself with labor laws and workers’ rights. A lawyer can help you fight for them, but only you can speak up when something is unfair!
The following are some examples of overtime violations:
- Misclassifying employees as exempt – If you are earning less than $455 per week than you are considered an hourly employee by law. Your employer cannot consider you a salaried employee and must, therefore, provide you with overtime pay for every extra hour worked.
- Labeling employees as freelancers or independent contractors – Freelancers and independent contractors are not entitled to benefits or overtime pay, so some employers will try to claim their staff is made up of these types of employees.
- Asking employees to work off the clock – If you are on a lunch break or just clocked out for the day, your employer cannot ask you to work. Make sure you are always clocked in when working so that all your hours are accounted for.
- Excluding earned bonuses from your pay – If you earned a bonus at work, you are still entitled to your overtime pay. Overtime pay is not bonus pay and must be included in your check.
No one is going to be more concerned about your fair compensation than you, so be sure to keep track of your hours, learn the law, and speak up when you are not fairly compensated. If your employer is committing overtime violations, contact an experienced employment attorney from Hoosier Law Firm, PLLC today.