Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), companies must pay employees at their base hourly wage plus 50% for each additional hour worked over 40 hours in a seven-day pay period. When companies violate this law, they can be held liable for any unpaid overtime compensation, plus an equal amount in liquidated damages and associated attorney fees or costs.
Unpaid overtime lawsuits in California typically center on one of two complaints: misclassification of workers or improper calculation of overtime pay.
Unpaid Overtime and the Misclassification of Workers
FLSA doesn’t apply to all workers. There are legally recognized exemptions for individuals working in executive, administrative, professional, computer, or outside sales positions.
Each exemption is a little different, but the general rule is that a worker must be paid a fixed salary and perform specific types of employment duties.
Determining whether someone is being paid a salary is straightforward, but the duties test is nuanced, and revisions are made periodically. If a worker alleges that they have been misclassified as exempt, you will need to provide a detailed accounting of their daily responsibilities to support your claim that they are not entitled to overtime pay.
Unpaid Overtime and the Improper Calculation of Overtime
Improper calculation claims are from workers who have been classified as non-exempt, but believe they were not paid correctly for the hours they worked. Some examples of this type of complaint include:
- Failure to pay for time spent in meetings
- Being asked to work “off the clock”
- Not paying for required employee training
- Not being paid for work done at home for the benefit of the company
- Not being paid for travel time between work sites
If you’re sued for improper calculation of overtime wages, you need to prove that the employee either did not perform the overtime duties claimed or show that the employee was correctly compensated for the overtime duties performed.
How Stone LLP Can Help
In addition to the financial ramifications, a lawsuit for unpaid overtime can bring negative publicity to your company and comprise everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve. The labor and employment defense attorneys at Stone LLP can help you figure out how to build the strongest defense to limit or avoid liability for overtime wage claims. Contact us today to learn more.