Under a federal law called the Fair Labor Standards Act and a similar state statute, employers in Ohio must pay most hourly workers time-and-one-half their hourly rate of pay for each hour worked over 40 hours in a workweek. Even employees who take tips like waitstaff and bartenders must receive overtime pay.
But what happens when a business violates the overtime rules and denies workers the money they are rightfully owed? You can hire a Columbus unpaid overtime lawyer to determine whether you may have the right to file suit against your employer to recoup those wages.
The Scope of the Unpaid Overtime Problem
As unpaid overtime attorneys based in Columbus, we see too many instances of workers putting in overtime hours for no additional pay. Occasionally, the problem boils down to poor record keeping or honest mistakes regarding who is eligible to earn overtime pay or exactly how much overtime was worked. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, nor does it absolve an employer of liability for failing to pay overtime to those individuals who are eligible for it and work over 40 hours in a workweek.
Too many times, however, managers and business owners intentionally break the law by classifying employees as independent contractors, classifying hourly workers as salaried professionals, and improperly collecting and redistributing tips. Some employers require employees to work without pay before and after clocking in and out.
Components of an Unpaid Overtime Settlement
Regardless of why it happens, employees who are cheated out of overtime pay have the right to file complaints with the U.S. Department of Labor and the Ohio Department of Commerce, not to mention filing a lawsuit to recoup unpaid overtime wages. Employees can team up with unpaid overtime lawyers to sue their employer for monetary damages.
Under federal and state law, employees can pursue the following three types of damages for unpaid overtime:
- Unpaid Wages, which is the actual amount of money earned by the employee but not paid by the employer. If the employer did pay some overtime while withholding the full amount, the employee can claim the difference between what was paid and earned.
- Liquidated Damages, which is another term for “double damages.” The FLSA provides that if an employer is found to have violated the law with regard to overtime pay, the employee can recover double what is actually owed. Example: If an employee is owed $500.00 in unpaid overtime, he or she can pursue the employer for a total of $1,000.00. The statute of limitations for all FLSA unpaid overtime claims is two years and three years if the employee can prove the violation is “willful.”
- Attorney Fees and Costs, which will be paid in an amount determined by the court. The employee’s legal team submits a full accounting of its work on its client’s behalf, and the judge approves or disallows some or all of it. Typically, winning an award of attorney costs and fees means an employee keeps the full amount of unpaid wages and liquidated damages without having to reimburse their lawyers for time and services. This will depend on the exact Fee Agreement entered into between the client and attorneys, however.Unpaid Wages Attorney Cleveland, Ohio
Employers who violate overtime laws may also be ordered to change their policies and practices to avoid similar issues happening in the future. While this not a direct damage award, it does make things better for all workers.
If you need more information about holding an employer accountable for not paying overtime, contact an employment attorney with The Friedmann Firm. Call us at 614.610.9755 to schedule a free and confidential consultation or connect with us online.
Rachel and Dominick were incredibly helpful throughout the entire process. They got back to me quickly, whenever I had questions, which helped me stay calm during a very stressful time. Rachel was confident in her abilities and knowledge of the labor laws, and she was able to secure a settlement for me. If you ever find yourself in a situation that requires you take action against an employer, I would highly recommend the Friedman Firm. There's no one I would recommend more to be in your corner.
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