Now that we’ve established the general mechanics of how you accrue overtime, you might have gone back to look at your previous paystubs and noticed that you haven’t been paid the overtime that you were due as an hourly worker. The Fair Labor Standards Act and subsequent legal precedent accounted for such circumstances where employers withhold wages that hourly employees rightfully earned, and you can’t be fired for taking the steps to remedy your situation. Your options include:
- Talk to your employer: This may seem like an obvious answer, but the first thing you should do if you think overtime wages have been withheld from you is to talk to your employer to make sure it wasn’t a mistake that they’d be inclined to resolve without outside intervention.
- File a Complaint with an Administrative Agency: So talking to your employer didn’t work out. The next step is to file a complaint with some administrative agency (Ie. The Department of Labor or its equivalent in your State). Most agencies require a written complaint, after which they’ll start an investigation to figure out if overtime rules were violated and seek a remedy on the behalf of both the employee and the employer. Generally, you’ll receive back pay for any withheld wages, however….
- Talk to a Lawyer: If you find the work of the administrative investigation unsatisfactory, it may be in your best interest to talk to an Overtime Lawyer. Even if you’re satisfied with the work of the administrative agency, before you cash that check, it might be in your best interest to talk to a lawyer. Generally, the administrative agency is going to be most concerned about an employee getting previous wages withheld and making sure withheld wages isn’t a problem in the future with the employer. However, an overtime lawyer can also get you liquidation damages in amounts equal to the wages withheld.
With all the above said, however, I know it can be a daunting idea to take steps against your employer to get the wages you’re rightfully due, especially if you’re still not sure they’re owed to you. If you’re still unsure whether or not you qualify for overtime wages guaranteed by the Fair Labor Standards Act or whether it will be worth the time to pursue action for wages withheld from you, that’s okay. Your consultation with a lawyer is free! Call (404) 831-8721 or fill out the contact form to schedule your appointment.