The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal law that governs the payment of the minimum wage and overtime pay. All employees * including salaried employees * and often “independent contractors” are entitled to overtime pay equal to at least 1.5 times their regular rate for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek, unless specifically “exempt.”
Some employers try to cut costs trying to narrowly interpret the law on overtime pay. This can be very dangerous for employers.
The penalties for violating an employee’s overtime rights, even if by accident, are tough. If an employee regularly works more than 40 hours per week and does not get overtime pay, he or she may be owed thousands of dollars in unpaid overtime plus penalties.
An employee who brings a successful overtime pay lawsuit can recover his/her unpaid wages and liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are defined by the FLSA as being double the unpaid wages due to the employee. Thus, if awarded $5,000 in unpaid overtime wages, the employee may be entitled to get an additional $5,000 as liquidated damages, bringing the total recovery to $10,000. These damages essentially are awarded instead of lost interest.
If the employee wins the case, the FLSA also requires the employer to reimburse for out-of-pocket litigation expenses and pay an additional attorneys’ fee award.
We have successfully litigated these cases in court and with the United States Department of Labor both for employees and employers and have handled numerous investigations as well as wage and hour audits.