Wage Hour Law
Overtime & Minimum Wage Law
The federal overtime and minimum wage law is known as the Fair Labor Standards Act (or FLSA). The law requires:
- employees be paid overtime at the rate of time and one-half for all hours actually worked over 40 except where a specific exemption applies.
- time and a half is to be calculated on the basis of the regular hourly rate, no matter how much or how little you make and even if you are paid a salary.
- employees covered by the Act must be paid the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, effective July 24, 2009 ($6.55 per hour between July 24, 2008 and July 23, 2009, $5.85 between July 24, 2007 and July 23, 2008, and $5.15 per hour before July 24, 2007) for each hour actually worked.
- State overtime and minimum wage laws may provide additional protections or a higher minimum wage rate, but state laws cannot permit an employer to violate the FLSA.
Enforcing Your Rights
If your employer fails to pay you overtime or minimum wages required by the law, you have the right to:
- Back pay
- Liquidated (double) damages
- An employer found to violate your rights is responsible for your legal costs including attorneys’ fees
- A claim can generally be brought for unpaid wages earned within the last three (sometimes two) years
- You may bring a lawsuit to collect for yourself and for other employees (Getman Sweeney Dunn does not charge any fees for bringing a suit until we win your case and then such fees generally are paid by the employer).
- You may contact the Department of Labor to collect for yourself and for other employees
How to Determine if You Have a Claim
The FLSA guarantees that employees get the overtime or minimum wages they are due. Even if employers unintentionally violate the law, employees have a right to backpay. Here are some ways employers violate the law:
- Treating workers as “exempt”
- Making employees work “off the clock”
- Not paying for all the hours of work, such as work at home.
- Treating employees as “independent contractors”
Overtime pay is a basic right. The law is sometimes complex and there are exceptions and technicalities that may apply to your particular case.
Concerns About Retaliation
Federal law and many state laws protect employees who challenge the failure to pay minimum wage or overtime – whether they make a complaint to their employer, bring a lawsuit, testify about violations, or bring a claim to the Department of Labor. The law provides for “double damages” and even punitive damages in the event an employer (or supervisor) is found to have retaliated against anyone raising a claim for overtime or minimum wages. The Courts also may order retaliation to stop immediately. Remedies for unlawful retaliation are broad and effective. Getman Sweeney Dunn works hard to prevent retaliation and works hard to fight back through the courts if an employer does engage in retaliation. Getman Sweeney Dunn has found that retaliation against current employees is very rare.
If you are concerned about retaliation…
Further Information on Minimum Wage & Overtime Laws
The most comprehensive information on the Fair Labor Standards Act is a legal treatise: Fair Labor Standards Act, by Ellen Kearns.
Further information on the federal overtime and minimum wage law is available from the U.S. Department of Labor.
State law may provide additional overtime and minimum wage rights. State law may not take away any rights granted under the federal overtime law. Click on a state for further information about its wage and hour laws.
|Arizona||Indiana||Nebraska (PDF)||Rhode Island|
|Arkansas||Iowa||Nevada||South Carolina – No Additional Protections|
|California||Kansas||New Hampshire||South Dakota|
|Colorado||Kentucky||New Jersey||Tennessee – No Additional Protections|
|Connecticut||Louisiana – No Additional Protections||New Mexico||Texas|
|District of Columbia||Maryland||New York||Utah|
|Hawaii||Mississippi – No Additional Protections||Oregon||West Virginia|