Some employees get overtime pay when their employers demand a lot of work from them. Under a federal law called the Fair Labor Standards Act or “FLSA”, companies have an obligation to compensate workers who work exceptionally long shifts and put in more than 40 hours in any given week.
Unfortunately, many companies will do anything they can think of to avoid fulfilling their legal obligations to their staff members. The three underhanded practices below are ways that businesses try to prevent workers from getting the overtime pay they deserve.
Requiring corporate approval for overtime pay
Many customer service businesses like restaurants and retail shops have strict limitations on the number of staff hours they can schedule on one day. They also monitor how many hours employees work and actively tried to prevent them from going over 40 hours.
A company may have a policy that says that management or corporate offices have to approve overtime requests in writing. They can make someone end a shift to avoid paying that worker overtime.
However, if the company expects someone to stay and keep working, they have to pay those overtime wages. Forcing someone to clock out but keep working just because they hit 40 hours and don’t have approval is illegal.
Changing time clock records to make sure no one goes over the limit
Some companies aren’t proactive about avoiding overtime pay by making workers clock out. Instead, they have their managers go over payroll before submitting it to accounting.
Altering the time that someone clocked in and out of each shift could be enough to reduce their total hours to below the 40-hour cutoff for overtime pay. This form of wage theft is common and can be hard to track if you don’t maintain your own time clock records.
Tricking workers who don’t receive high enough wages
Hourly workers aren’t the only ones who are entitled to receive overtime pay. Salaried workers who receive low wages also have the right to receive overtime compensation. If the company doesn’t pay you enough to exempt you, then you have the right to demand overtime wages.
If your weekly pay isn’t at least $684 or your annual salary isn’t at least $35,568, you aren’t exempt from overtime pay requirements. If your employer expects you to work over 40 hours in a pay period, they will have to pay you at least 150% of your average hourly wage for time beyond 40 hours a week.
Recognizing how your employer might try to avoid their legal obligations to you can help you determine whether you have a viable overtime wage claim.