The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of the United States upholds very specific laws regarding appropriate methods for compensating employees for their work. These laws maintain that once an employee has satisfied the requirements of “full-time” work in a seven-day period and works additional hours, the employee must be paid at a higher rate than their usual full-time rate. If you work beyond the full-time workweek threshold of 40 hours in a given week, federal law mandates that you be fairly paid at the overtime rate. It’s important to know your rights as an employee and your legal options for unpaid overtime.

How Is Overtime Calculated?

This higher rate of pay, called overtime, is often used to incentivize employees into working longer hours. Still, many employers carefully manage their employees’ scheduling to prevent them from accruing too much overtime. Under federal law, all hours worked past 40 in one workweek accrues pay at the overtime rate of 150% of the employee’s usual hourly rate. For example, if the employee regularly earns $20 per hour, they will earn $30 per hour for each hour of overtime worked past their 40-hour standard workweek.

While employers are allowed to tailor their employees’ schedules to avoid paying overtime, there are some situations in which it may be impossible to do so, and an employee will work more than their full-time schedule typically entails. In these situations, employers may not deny overtime or otherwise interfere with the additional pay rate the employee should have received.

What Is the Difference Between Overtime and Straight Overtime?

Some employees conflate overtime with straight overtime. “Straight overtime” refers to additional hours worked beyond an employee’s regularly scheduled hours that do not add up to more than 40 hours in a workweek. Straight overtime is paid at the employee’s normal hourly rate. For example, if an employee is normally scheduled for 25 hours of work per week but completes 30 hours of work in a given week, they would technically have five hours of straight overtime. Standard overtime, also called “premium overtime,” is the 150% pay rate that takes effect once an employee works more than 40 hours in one workweek.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for FLSA Claims?

The FLSA not only upholds overtime standards throughout the US but also investigates claims of unpaid overtime and other labor standards violations. An overtime dispute lawyer in Palm Springs is a great resource if you are sure that your employer owes you overtime they have yet to pay. The statute of limitations or time limit for FLSA claims is two years. So if you are wondering, “how far back can I sue for overtime?” The answer is two years.

Can I Sue My Job for Not Paying Me Overtime?

If your work for an employer aligns with the state’s definition of overtime, you have the right to expect fair overtime pay according to your employment agreement and applicable laws. If your employer refuses or fails to pay overtime as required, an overtime dispute lawyer in Palm Springs can help you determine the best approach to resolving the situation. A formal demand to your employer may be enough, or it may be necessary to work with your overtime dispute lawyer in Palm Springs to initiate an FLSA claim.

It is possible for an employee who did not receive rightfully earned overtime to file an individual claim against an employer, or multiple employees with missing overtime pay could join in a class-action suit against the employer.

How to Take Legal Action for Unpaid Overtime

One of the most important things you must have to pursue an unpaid overtime claim is proof of the hours you worked during the period in question. Unfortunately, some employees do not have access to their timekeeping systems beyond the clocking in and out for each shift. An experienced overtime dispute lawyer in Palm Springs can help their client determine the best places to search for evidence of their actual hours worked.

It’s also vital to keep records such as pay stubs, correspondence with employers and supervisors, and any other materials that may support an unpaid overtime claim. Additionally, it is worth asking coworkers whether they have experienced similar issues with the employer.

An experienced attorney can help an employee in this situation not only secure the overtime pay they are rightfully owed but also interest to compensate them for their employer’s failure to properly pay them. In some cases, employees may also secure compensation for their legal fees and a state-mandated penalty based on the amount of unpaid overtime owed. If you are ready to take legal action to secure unpaid overtime, speak with an experienced overtime dispute lawyer in Palm Springs as soon as possible to start building your claim.