In an overtime lawsuit, the total recovery for an employee can include back pay due, liquidated damages, attorneys' fees, and, in some cases, punitive damages. The FLSA generally permits employees to recover unpaid overtime for work performed up to two years before the lawsuit was filed in court and continuing forward until the case is resolved.
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), liquidated damages are double the unpaid wages due to an employee who has been denied overtime pay. Therefore, if an employee is awarded $6,000 in back pay, he or she may be entitled to receive an additional $6,000 in liquidated damages, bringing the total recovery to $12,000. Liquidated damages are awarded instead of lost interest. However, employers can avoid paying liquidated damages if they are able to show that they were acting in good faith and had a reasonable basis to believe that their wage and hour practices were not in violation of the law.
If your employer retaliates against you for filing an overtime lawsuit, you may be able to recover punitive damages. In addition, if your lawsuit is successful, your employer is required to reimburse you for your out-of-pocket litigation expenses and pay an additional attorneys' fee award.
In determining the damages that you may be able to collect through an overtime lawsuit, you must first calculate the difference between what you were paid and what you deserve to be paid. For each hour worked over 40 hours in a workweek, your pay should equal at least one and a half times your regular rate of pay. The way to calculate your overtime pay will depend on whether you are paid hourly, piece rate, or salary. Depending on the circumstances, additional pay such as bonuses based on productivity or for working a particular shift, could be included in the calculation of what should be multiplied by “time and a half.”
If you have an unpaid overtime claim, an overtime lawyer can help you determine the damages you are entitled to under the Fair Labor Standards Act and fight on your behalf to ensure that you receive maximum compensation.