Overtime laws are an integral part of U.S. employment laws and protect hardworking employees from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers. These laws require certain employers to compensate employees at one and one-half times their typical pay rate for hours worked beyond 40 in a single work week. Employers cannot manipulate the definition of the work week in order to avoid paying overtime to over-worked employees. Overtime laws arose out of a difficult time in our nation’s labor history where workers were forced to work excessive hours for days upon days. Fortunately, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was enacted to ensure these practices would not continue.
If you are a non-exempt worker in the United States, you are entitled to one and one-half times your pay rate if you work longer than 40 hours in any 168-hour stretch (known as the “work week”). Some state laws expand upon the FLSA requirements and each state labor code will contain different provisions with regard to overtime pay. Importantly, state laws can never reduce federal protections under principles of sovereignty and the Supremacy Clause. However, state laws can provide additional protections not offered under the FLSA with which all employers must abide.
The FLSA does not provide a maximum number of overtime hours that an employer can require an employee to work. Also, not every American worker is entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA. For instance, professionals (doctors, lawyers, architects, etc.) are not protected under the FLSA and may be required to work as many hours as needed during the workweek. In addition, highly-paid executives and administrators are not protected by overtime laws either. Other groups of exempted workers include babysitters, home care workers, computer professionals and small farm employees.
In California, for example, FLSA protections are expanded to require employers to pay double pay for non-exempt employees working 12 hours or longer in one work shift. California law also provides for double pay for any employee working seven days or longer in one work week. Other states offer similar protections that expound upon the federal mandates.
If you are considering a lawsuit for back overtime pay, contact Deskin Law Firm today. We can help you recover the overtime you are owed and help ensure other co-workers are similarly compensated by their employer.