The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to provide overtime pay when employees work more than 40 hours during their workweek. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a regular employee workweek consists of “seven consecutive 24-hour periods.”
Employees working over 40 hours during their regular seven-day workweek must receive at least an additional 50% of their normal pay rate for the extra hours. If hourly employees remain at work and continue performing their normal tasks beyond 40 hours in one workweek, they have a right to overtime pay.
Employees may file legal actions for wages owed
Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute notes that employees may file legal actions for unpaid overtime work. The court may award both unpaid overtime wages and damages. The U.S. DOL notes that employers who fail to pay overtime at the required rate may face civil and criminal penalties.
Intuit.com reported that employees working in the accommodation and food services industries filed the most claims involving FLSA violations. Since 1984, employees have recovered more than $2 billion through their legal actions.
Overtime suits filed against a national restaurant chain involve over 5,000 employees
As reported by RestaurantBusinessOnline.com, two class-action lawsuits against a national restaurant chain resulted in settlement offers totaling more than $20 million. The complaints alleged that the company misclassified manager-trainee employees as exempt from overtime. The company also assigned the trainees to hourly-wage tasks and then failed to pay them overtime when they worked over 40 hours.
Under the FLSA, employers must prove an overtime exemption status through a duties test. Salaried employees performing executive, administrative or professional services could fall within allowable exemptions. Employers may, however, also owe overtime pay to salaried employees who perform duties outside of their regular administrative tasks.