October 26, 2020

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How To Sue Your Company For Unpaid Overtime Pay

DETROIT -- Overtime pay is required from your employer in many circumstances when an employee works more than forty hours a week.   

While certain employees are exempt, or not entitled to overtime pay, many workers are legally entitled to additional wages and higher pay for extra hours on the job.

Under Federal Law, an employer is required to pay a “non- exempt” employee overtime pay for hours worked beyond a 40-hour work week.  

Employers and business owners are fully aware that they are legally required to pay overtime, but either simply to refuse to pay those wages or intentionally misclassify an employee as “exempt” to avoid overtime. Many employees who are paid a salary, instead of hourly pay, are still covered employees and entitled to overtime pay. 

Most workers do not understand their legal rights to recover unpaid overtime wages. 

The first step is to contact an employment lawyer to determine whether you are considered a covered employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Workers covered under the FLSA can sue their past or present employer if required overtime wages were not properly paid.

The overtime rate of pay that employers are required to pay is one and a half times (1.5 times) the regular hourly wage.   

Claims for unpaid wages can often be sought dating two years back from the filing of the lawsuit and continue into the future until the lawsuit is resolved. There are some states that permit the claims to seek unpaid wages even more than two years in the past.

If you were not paid the legally required overtime pay, there are two ways to sue your past or present company for these wages. Lawsuits can be filed as individual lawsuits or as class action lawsuits, also known as “collective action lawsuits.”   

If a number of employees at the same company have similar claims, they may be able to file a class action lawsuit to recover their unpaid wages. An employee can also join an existing class action overtime lawsuit if it has already been filed.  

By consulting with an experienced attorney, an aggrieved and underpaid employee can pursue all remedies under the law to recover unpaid wages. 

Many times, there are other employees at the same company also being shortchanged on wages and collectively they can bring legal action to recover their wages. Most cases are handled on a contingent fee basis, which means there are no legal fees charged by the attorney unless the employee receives a settlement for unpaid wages.

Sources:

Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. 2020National Law Review, Volume X, Number 272
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About this Author

Larry Buckfire Personal Injury Attorney Buckfire Law
President and Attorney

Lawrence J. Buckfire (Larry Buckfire) earned his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Michigan in 1986 and his juris doctor degree from Wayne State University School of Law in 1989. He has been in private practice since successfully completing the bar exam in 1989. He is admitted to practice law in the State of Michigan, State of Ohio, and in the United States District Court.

Lawrence is the lead trial attorney and managing partner at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C.  The law firm was founded in 1969 by his father David Buckfire with the principle of representing...

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