Common Overtime Violations

Employers understand that overtime law is complex and difficult for employees to understand without assistance. Employers often utilize similar tricks and ploys to deny employees Texas overtime pay. Employees who are able to recognize them are better equipped to move swiftly to protect their overtime rights. In addition to an employer flatly refusing to answer employees' questions about overtime pay, these tactics include:

1. The "Reclassification" Myth

If you didn't receive overtime pay but you do now because your employer recently reclassified your position and your job never changed, there's a good chance that you are a victim of the Reclassification Myth.

In these situations, your employer probably violated your overtime rights from the start and reclassified your position only after learning about the violation. Because your duties didn't change, your reclassification may amount to an admission that the company violated overtime law. Your employer's reclassification without paying you back overtime wages also may constitute a "willful" violation.

2. The "Salaried Employee" Myth

Many employers tell their employees that they are not entitled to Texas overtime pay because they are "salaried." Merely because you receive a salary, however, does not mean that you are not entitled to overtime pay.

Under Texas overtime law, all employees must receive overtime pay unless they are paid a salary of at least $455 per workweek and perform duties satisfying one of the recognized overtime exemptions. If your employer cannot prove that one of these narrow exemptions apply, you may be entitled to overtime pay.

3. The "Independent Contractor" Myth

Some employers label their workers as "independent contractors," "temporary workers," "contract labor," "temp-to-perm," and similar terms in an effort to avoid overtime pay obligations. This is because, under federal law, overtime pay is only available to "employees." However, a significant number of these workers really are employees.

If your employer retains the right to control when, where, and how you work, there's a good chance that you are a victim of the Independent Contractor Myth and your employer is violating Texas overtime law by not paying you overtime pay.

4. The "Straight Time Only" Myth

Overtime law mandates that employers pay at least 1.5 times an employee's regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in any workweek. There is almost no exception for hourly-paid employees. That means, if you make $15.00 per hour, you should receive $22.50 per hour for overtime hours.

If you are an hourly employee and you do not receive at least 1.5 times your regular pay rate for your overtime hours, there's a good chance your employer is not complying with federal and Texas overtime law.

5. The "Unauthorized Overtime" Myth

If your employer has ever deleted hours from your timesheets or refused to pay you overtime pay because it was not pre-approved, you're probably a victim of the Unauthorized Overtime Myth.

Texas overtime law requires employers to pay employees for all hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek if the employer knew or reasonably should have known the employee worked overtime. This means that, under overtime law, most employees should receive overtime pay even if their employer maintains a policy prohibiting overtime work without prior approval and the employee did not receive authorization.

6. Stealing Time.

Some employers violate overtime law by not paying employees for all hours worked. Under Texas overtime law, employees must be paid for most work performed before clocking-in, while putting on safety or other protective wear, during lunch breaks, traveling between work sites after the start of the work day, and after clocking-out. This also may include "on-call" time and time attending mandatory work meetings or training.

7. The "Commissioned Employee" Myth

Many employers tell their employees that they are not entitled to overtime pay because they are a commissioned employee. But if your job does not require regular travel away from your employer's workplace, there's a strong chance that you are a victim of the "Commissioned Employee" Myth. This is true whether you receive a commission as the sole source of your compensation or in addition to a guaranteed salary, draw, or hourly rate. For this reason, many employees who perform inside sales, recruiting, and business development work, and whose jobs do not regularly require them to travel, generally are entitled to overtime pay.

Texas overtime lawyer Barry Hersh explains overtime rights in plain English and aggressively represents employees in overtime pay lawsuits. The Hersh Law Firm is available to pursue unpaid overtime claims for employees all over Texas, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, El Paso, and San Antonio. To submit your claim for a free evaluation, contact us here.