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Overtime Wages and the Federal Labor Standards Act:

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exists to protect eligible employees from exploitation at the hands of their employers. Your time is valuable and you deserve every penny that you work for. Unfortunately, an alarming number of corporate and individual employers do not agree. In order to avoid paying overtime, these unscrupulous employers will do almost anything, including making you perform tasks either before or after your shift. The experienced labor lawyers at Zehl & Associates, LLP have represented plaintiffs all over the United States in cases involving overtime pay. Unlike some other law firms, our employment and wage lawyers focus on maximizing the value of our clients’ cases, not settling with the company for an inadequate settlement amount. It is this reputation for excellence in the courtroom that has enabled the trial lawyers at Zehl & Associates to earn more than $150 million in verdicts and settlements in the last 2 years alone.

Contact the Experienced Overtime Wage Lawyers at Zehl & Associates: 1-888-603-3636

If you or someone you know has been cheated out of overtime wages, contact the experienced employment and wage lawyers at the law firm of Zehl & Associates by clicking here or calling 1-888-603-3636 for a free, no commitment case review.

History of the FLSA:

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act was enacted in 1938 in order to combat the effects of the Great Depression. Over time, FLSA has been repeatedly expanded to the point where it now covers nearly all non-agricultural employees and employers in the United States. One thing that has remained constant throughout the years is the original intent and purpose behind the Act, which is to regulate work hours, introduce minimum wage requirements to eliminate substandard pay, and to force employers to hire additional workers by making the cost of overtime work substantially higher.
Just a few of the provisions granted under FLSA that many tend to take for granted include:

  • The establishment of a minimum or baseline wage
  • Overtime pay at a rate of 150%
  • Protections against child labor

These protections have been defined through interpretive rulings and regulations from the agency in charge of FLSA, known as the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor. Furthermore, some states have enacted their own labor laws that are even more demanding than the Act itself. In this particular area of the law, the federal Act does not preempt or override the state law. The state law will be enforced on top of the federal Act. Essentially, the employer is required to follow whichever law is more favorable to the employee.

Under FLSA, there are two basic types of employees: those who are fully covered by the Act and those who are covered by the Act but are exempt from certain provisions. FLSA applies to employees either engaged in interstate commerce or the production of goods for interstate commerce. The Act also applies to employees working for an entity engaged in interstate commerce or the production of goods for interstate commerce. The only way for an employer to avoid coverage is to claim an exemption. Many exemptions do exist that allow employers to avoid the Act’s record-keeping, minimum wage and overtime criteria. These include the “white-collar” exemptions which exclude administrative, executive and professional employees. In order to meet one of these exemptions, an employer must demonstrate that the employee at issue fits precisely within the terms of the exemption.

There are also minimum dollar amounts that must be met to qualify under FLSA. In order to meet the commerce requirements of the Act, an employer must do at least $500,000 worth of gross sales per year. The FLSA generally applies to any individual employed by an employer. However, it does not apply to volunteers or independent contractors. This is so because under FLSA, they are not considered to be employees.

This does not mean that an employer can avoid the Act simply by designating his employees as independent contractors or volunteers when they are not. The courts will look beyond this superficial designation and will examine the economic reality of the relationship between the employer and the employee to determine whether or not the Act applies. The courts also use a similar test when dealing with a joint employer situation. In such a situation, an employee may be found to be employed by more than one boss depending upon the amount of control each individual boss exerts over the employee.

All too often, employees (non-exempt) that are eligible to receive overtime will be short-changed in some way. Whether it is a failure to pay for travel time between different job sites or for any job duties that must be performed off-the-clock, certain employers have made a habit of cheating their employees out of the wages they deserve. This is done to avoid paying the statutorily-required overtime rate. Remember, if you are eligible for overtime, you must be paid at least one and a half times (150%) your regular pay rate.