Chicago Overtime Lawyers
Overtime Pay & Other Owed Wages
- Failure to be paid Overtime: You worked more than 40 hours in one or more work weeks and were paid your straight time hourly rate of pay for all hours worked.
- Salary misclassification: Your employer paid you a salary and no overtime as a “manager” or “assistant manager” but deducted money from your pay or required you to perform the same work regularly performed by hourly employees;
- Uncompensated time: Your employer required you to perform a task but did not count it as “work time”;
- Regular rate miscalculation: Your employer did not increase your overtime rate when you earned bonuses or commissions;
- Rounding: Your employer rounded down your hours worked to short you on overtime when you worked more than 40 hours in one week; or
- Vacation pay: You worked in Illinois or California and your employer failed to pay you earned and accrued vacation.
Frequently Asked Overtime Pay Law Questions and Answers
Overtime hours means the time an employee works more than 40 hours per work week. Overtime pay is the special premium rate of compensation that employers must pay their employees for working overtime hours. Under federal law, overtime pay must equal at least one and one-half times an employee’s regular rate of pay. So, if an employee regularly makes $8/hour, that employee is entitled to make $12/hour for all the overtime hours he or she works.
Unpaid wages can mean (1) a portion of your pay that has been wrongly withheld, (2) pay or wages (including, commissions, bonus and vacation pay) that are owed to you, or (3) a paycheck that your employer never paid you.
All employees are entitled to overtime pay unless they fall into a specific exemption that excludes them from receiving overtime pay. The three largest exemptions include employees in “executive,” “administrative,” and “professional” job positions. Whether you are an exempt employee depends on your specific job duties and responsibilities. If you have questions about your exempt status, you should talk to a lawyer.
You are still entitled to be paid an overtime wage rate for all the overtime hours you work. Agreements that limit your right to overtime pay are unenforceable.
You do not need written records or proof of the number of hours you worked. It is the employer’s duty to maintain certain records regarding your work hours and pay. If your employer does not have those records, your testimony under oath will be sufficient to prove your claim.
No. Overtime pay must only be paid when you work more than 40 hours in a week and not more than eight hours in any one day.
You are potentially entitled to the overtime wages your employer should have paid you, interest and attorney’s fee. You are also potentially entitled to an additional amount of “liquidated damages.” Liquidated damages allow you to double the amount of unpaid overtime wages your employer owes you. For example, let’s say your unpaid overtime wages equal $15,000. If you get liquidated damages, you are entitled to $30,000 ($15,000 x 2).
You are entitled to receive liquidated damages in most instances. You will not be entitled to receive liquidated damages if your employer can prove that it acted in good faith.
The FLSA contains a two-year limitation period. That means you can recover overtime for the two (2) years prior to the date you file your lawsuit. This limitations period can be extended to three (3) years if your employer’s action of not paying you overtime was “willful.”
It depends. Every case is different; however, most lawsuits seeking overtime are settled quickly. That means it can take as little as a few months. However, if the employer vigorously defends the lawsuit, it could take between a few months to a year.
Yes. If you provide us with all the pertinent information, we can quickly calculate the potential damages that you are owed.
You may still be entitled to overtime pay because your employer may be wrongly telling you that you are an independent contractor. Whether or not you are an independent contractor depends on a variety of factors that we will need to discuss with you before we can give you an answer.
Yes. The FLSA applies to federal and state government employees.
No. This is a common method employers use to avoid paying overtime. The averaging of workweeks is expressly prohibited by law. You are entitled to receive overtime pay for each individual week you work more than 40 hours. In the above example, you are entitled to receive overtime pay for the 10 hours you worked more than 40 hours in week two.
Unless you work for the state or federal government, an employer providing compensatory or “comp time” instead of overtime pay is illegal.
Not necessarily. You are exempt based on your job duties and responsibilities and not based on what your employer calls you. It makes no difference if your employer calls you exempt or gives you a job title such as “manager” or “supervisor.” It is a common practice for employers to give workers the title of “assistant manager” to avoid paying overtime when those employees are not exempt and should be paid overtime.
Some job categories are exempt from the overtime requirements. However, these exemptions are narrowly construed against the employer claiming them, and the ultimate burden of proving that the exemption applies rests with the employer. Some jobs falling under the exemption provisions include commissioned sales employees of retail or service establishments, certain computer professionals, employees of motor carriers, such as trucking companies if the employee’s duties include driving or loading vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds, employees of certain seasonal and recreational establishments, farm workers employed on small farms, salesmen, and mechanics employed by automobile dealerships, outside salespersons, executive, administrative, professional or outside sales employees who are paid on a salary basis.
Yes. This is one of the common misconceptions about overtime pay. You are not exempt just because you are paid a weekly salary. If you are not otherwise exempt under the FLSA, your employer must convert your weekly salary to an hourly rate and pay you time and a half for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours. This applies to monthly and semimonthly salaries as well.
To calculate your owed overtime, you must convert your “job rate” to an hourly rate. For example, let’s say you are a cable installer and you get paid $26.00 for each installation that you complete. You work 10 hours per day, five days per week and typically perform 20 installations in your regular work week. In a typical workweek, you make $400.00 ($26.00 x 20 installations) and work 50 hours per week. Therefore, you earn $8.00/hr ($400.00/50). Since your regular rate of pay is $8.00 an hour, your overtime rate is $12.00 (8.00 x 1.5).
The longer you wait, the less overtime pay you may be able to recover. It is also best to promptly pursue your claim so that time records and witnesses are readily available.
No. It is illegal for an employer to fire or in any way retaliate against an employee because he or she has filed a claim for overtime against the employer. We will help protect you if your employer tries to retaliate against you for filing an overtime claim.
You should seek legal advice. The overtime laws are highly technical and we can help apply the law to your special situation. We provide free consultations and will tell you if you are owed earned wages and if we can help you.
In most cases, all costs for overtime and unpaid wage cases will be advanced by our firm. Because our fee is typically contingent on a recovery from the employer, the firm does not get paid or reimbursed for expenses until the recovery is made.
No. We will only receive a fee if we are successful in resolving your claim.