/Unpaid Overtime Lawyers
Unpaid Overtime Lawyers

Houston Unpaid Overtime Attorneys

If you have worked more than 40 hours in a work week without being paid overtime, you may be entitled to compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) not only for the unpaid overtime but for other penalties as well.  You can receive significant compensation and your employer will cover the cost of your lawyers – you will not have to pay us at all. Our Houston unpaid overtime lawyers will pursue every dime you were cheated out of.

” Even if you have agreed to accept a salary rather than hourly wages, you may be entitled to back overtime pay for working over 40 hours per week.”

 Common tricks some employers use to try to get out of paying overtime:

  • Falsely Claiming Employees are “Independent Contractors.”  Just classifying a worker as an independent contractor does not make them so and does not allow the company to avoid paying overtime.  There are very Time Card specific rules regarding the classification as an independent contractor.  If you are a regular employee that is classified as an independent contractor, you are still entitled to be paid overtime and can seek back overtime pay and other damages from the offending employer.
  • Putting Employees on Salary and then Claiming Overtime is not owed. The salary status of an employee does not determine whether overtime is owed.  Even employees on a set salary are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a work week.
  • Telling or Allowing Employees not to record time.  Whether voluntary or forced, employees MUST be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. Even employees who take it upon themselves to not report overtime hours can seek compensation for lost pay going back several years.
  • Falsely claiming an exemption. They law allows very few exemptions to the overtime requirement.  Classifying an employee as an executive or other exempt employee does not make it so.  Miss-classified employees can seek back-pay and other compensation for several years.

Can I be fired for bringing an overtime claim?

No.  The law allows for very severe penalties against employers who retaliate in any way against an employee or employees who are retaliated in any way for bringing an overtime compensation claim.

Michael P. Fleming at United States Supreme Court

Michael P. Fleming leaving Supreme Court of the United States after appearing on Fair Labor Standards Case

Michael P. Fleming, former Harris County Attorney,  is one of a handful of attorneys in the world to have argued – and won – a Fair Labor Standards Act case before the Supreme Court of the United States of America.  Many people do not realize that they have been underpaid for months or years until they speak with an experienced Fair Labor Standards Act lawyer.

If you have been short-changed, you don’t deserve to struggle emotionally or financially any longer. Don’t let an employer’s negligent or illegal behavior keep you from getting the pay that you have earned. If found liable for willful violations, companies may be required to pay double the wages (damages) plus attorney fees. Exploring your legal options is the first and most important step on the road to justice. Contact us for a free consultation because varying statute of limitations could end your case before justice is served.

The law of the United States requires employers to pay their employees time and a half for working over 40 hours in a week unless they are covered by one of a few exceptions.  Many employers believe that they can avoid the obligations of federal law by classifying the employee as “exempt,” “salaried,” “executive,” “administrative,” or some other unlawful designation.  The fact of the matter is that you are entitled to overtime pay if you work over 40 hours in a week unless you are really exempt from the law.  This is usually not the case.

The law provides for very strong protections for employees who assert their right to compensation for unpaid overtime - including severe penalties against an employer that retaliates in any way.

Can I bring an overtime claim?
Can I bring an overtime claim?

Some signs that your employer may be avoiding the obligations of the Fair Labor Standards Act include:

  • Classifying you as “executive,” “exempt” or “administrative” when you have no real authority or discretion.
  • Asking or requiring you to not show over 40 hours on your time card each week.
  • Asking you to waive overtime
  • Requiring you to work during breaks
  • Wrongfully classifying you as an independent contractor
  • Requiring employees to arrive early for preparation without pay
  • Telling an employee that they are on a salary and therefore not entitled to overtime pay

Fair Labor Standards Act “FLSA” Overtime

The United States Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) contains the requirements that apply to all employers in the country. Unless exempt, employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay. There is no limit in the Act on the number of hours employees aged 16 and older may work in any workweek. The Act does not require overtime pay for work on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days.

FLSA overtime requirements apply on a workweek basis. An employee’s workweek is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours – seven consecutive 24-hour periods. It does not need to coincide with the calendar week.  However, it may begin on any day and at any hour of the day. Different workweeks may be established for different employees or groups of employees. Averaging of hours over two or more weeks is not permitted. Normally, overtime pay earned in a particular workweek must be paid on the regular pay day for the pay period in which the wages were earned.

The exemptions to overtime pay requirements are relatively few. If you have regularly worked over 40 hours in a workweek, you might be entitled to back pay for overtime.  You should contact experienced FLSA overtime lawyers today to discuss your options.  If you wait too long, you will lose your right to overtime compensation.  Even if you are no longer with the company, you can still make a claim for overtime owed for the past several years of employment.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides several exemptions from overtime pay requirements.

Executive Exemption

Certain executives do not have to be paid overtime.  If an employee does not qualify, he or she must be paid overtime pay.  To qualify for the executive employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
  • The employee’s primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise;
  • The employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent; and
  • The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees must be given particular weight.

Administrative Exemptions

To qualify for the administrative employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met or you must be paid overtime for working over 40 hours in a week:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
  • The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and
  • The employee’s primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

Professional Exemption

To qualify for the learned professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
  • The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment;
  • The advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and
  • The advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.

To qualify for the creative professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
  • The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.

Computer Employee Exemption

To qualify for the computer employee exemption to the overtime pay requirement, the following tests must be met:

  • The employee must be compensated either on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week or, if compensated on an hourly basis, at a rate not less than $27.63 an hour;
  • The employee must be employed as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer or other similarly skilled worker in the computer field performing the duties described below;
  • The employee’s primary duty must consist of:

1) The application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software or system functional specifications;

2) The design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications;

3) The design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; or

4) A combination of the aforementioned duties, the performance of which requires the same level of skills.

Outside Sales Exemption

To qualify for the outside sales employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:

  • The employee’s primary duty must be making sales (as defined in the FLSA), or obtaining orders or contracts for services or for the use of facilities for which a consideration will be paid by the client or customer; and
  • The employee must be customarily and regularly engaged away from the employer’s place or places of business.

Highly Compensated Employees

Highly compensated employees performing office or non-manual work and paid total annual compensation of $100,000 or more (which must include at least $455 per week paid on a salary or fee basis) are exempt from the

FLSA if they customarily and regularly perform at least one of the duties of an exempt executive, administrative or professional employee identified in the standard tests for exemption.

Blue Collar Workers

The exemptions provided by FLSA Section 13(a)(1) apply only to “white collar” employees who meet the salary and duties tests set forth in the Part 541 regulations. The exemptions do not apply to manual laborers or other “blue collar” workers who perform work involving repetitive operations with their hands, physical skill and energy. FLSA-covered, non-management employees in production, maintenance, construction and similar occupations such as carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, iron workers, craftsmen, operating engineers, longshoremen, construction workers and laborers are entitled to minimum wage and overtime premium pay under the FLSA, and are not exempt under the Part 541 regulations no matter how highly paid they might be.

Police, Fire Fighters, Paramedics & Other First Responders

The exemptions also do not apply to police officers, detectives, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, highway patrol officers, investigators, inspectors, correctional officers, parole or probation officers, park rangers, fire fighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, ambulance personnel, rescue workers, hazardous materials workers and similar employees, regardless of rank or pay level, who perform work such as preventing, controlling or extinguishing fires of any type; rescuing fire, crime or accident victims; preventing or detecting crimes; conducting investigations or inspections for violations of law; performing surveillance; pursuing, restraining and apprehending suspects; detaining or supervising suspected and convicted criminals, including those on probation or parole; interviewing witnesses; interrogating and fingerprinting suspects; preparing investigative reports; or other similar work.

In essence, if you have been regularly required to work more than 40 hours per week without additional compensation – whether on salary or hourly – you should contact an overtime lawyer to determine if you are entitled to additional compensation.  If you wait too long you will lose your right to be paid for the back overtime.  This can result in the loss of many thousands of dollars.