Workers who have been wrongfully denied overtime pay due to violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) can file an overtime lawsuit to recover unpaid overtime wages. Before making the decision to file a lawsuit, you need to make sure that there are grounds for a lawsuit. An attorney who is experienced in the area of overtime pay disputes will be able to determine whether or not you have a valid case by analyzing your work situation and the applicable laws. The following questions should be answered during this initial investigation process:
- Did the employer violate any of the terms of the Fair Labor Standards act?
- Was the employee exempt from overtime pay?
- Did the employee work more than 40 hours during a workweek?
- Did the employer fail to report the worker's overtime hours to the payroll department?
Once you have established that you were not paid the overtime compensation to which you were entitled, your employer must provide records of the exact amount of time you spent working. If he or she cannot provide these records, you will receive damages based on your estimate of hours worked. If your overtime lawsuit is successful, you may be able to receive twice the amount of the unpaid wages that were earned in the two years before the lawsuit, or three years if your employer’s overtime violation was deliberate. Attorneys' fees can also be recovered.
In 2003, the Department of Labor investigated 40,000 cases of overtime law violations. These cases led to more than $212 million dollars in back wages awarded to workers who had been wrongfully denied overtime pay. Millions of dollars in civil overtime lawsuit damages have also been awarded to victims of overtime law violations in recent years.
If you were denied overtime pay, it is possible that many of your co-workers also were not being compensated properly. You and your co-workers may be able to file a class action suit against your employer in order to recover unpaid overtime wages. A class action lawsuit joins together a group of people with common interests in a matter and is often a cost-effective way to handle overtime violations. Overtime class action lawsuits have been filed against several major companies in recent years, including Bank of America, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and Radio Shack.
If you feel that you may be eligible to participate in an overtime lawsuit to recover unpaid overtime wages, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. An overtime attorney can discuss your rights with you and help you receive the compensation you deserve.