Your right to overtime is governed by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). Employees who are eligible for overtime must be paid 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for every hour over forty worked in a given week. We believe that this is an area of employment law where employers frequently make mistakes. Some employers don't pay overtime at all to employees who should be receiving overtime. Other employers may realize that they're supposed to pay overtime but miscalculate the amount of overtime worked by employees and pay less overtime than they should.
The FLSA groups employees into one of two categories: exempt employees and nonexempt employees. "Exempt employees" are those who are never entitled to overtime under any circumstances, regardless of how much they work. "Nonexempt employees" are those who are always entitled to overtime when they work more than forty hours in a week. The U.S. Department of Labor believes that most employees are nonexempt and are thus entitled to overtime. Overtime law cases that challenge whether an employer has properly considered an employee to be exempt are called "misclassification" cases.
The FLSA gives you powerful legal rights if your employer is either unlawfully failing to pay you overtime at all or is paying you less overtime than you're entitled to. You can recover not only all the overtime owed to you going back as many as three years, but in most cases also an additional amount equal to your unpaid overtime. The FLSA further allows you to recover your attorney fees and litigation expenses.
The vast majority of overtime law cases are evaluated using the following factors.
First, how is the employee paid? With extremely few exceptions, hourly employees are always eligible for overtime if they pass the forty-hour threshold. In general, only salaried employees are possibly exempt from the overtime requirements.
Second, what are the salaried employee's job duties? Not all salaried positions come with job duties that exempt the employee from overtime law; in fact, many don't. This is a complex analysis that varies depending on the exact position at issue. But two constant principles for the "duties" test are that job titles and job descriptions are meaningless. What matters is what the employee actually does on a daily basis.
Finally, once it's determined that the employee is entitled to overtime, the analysis moves to how much "working time" the employee had each week. That number needs to be calculated to determine whether the employee exceeded forty hours in any given week and is thus entitled to be paid the "premium" (time-and-a-half) rate for those overtime hours.
Our Des Moines law firm has considerable experience in overtime law cases, having argued and won them in trial courts and appellate courts on behalf of various types of salaried and hourly employees. We have amassed a great deal of knowledge about all aspects of overtime law through our work on behalf of those underpaid employees. We welcome you to share in some of that knowledge by reviewing various blog posts that we have made on overtime topics. Here are a few examples that you might find helpful:
Our Des Moines law firm has tried numerous employment law cases, including overtime matters. Overtime cases require legal analysis of federal statutes, U.S. Department of Labor regulations, and court decisions. We offer additional, more specific information about various overtime topics at our on-site and off-site blogs that we hope you'll find helpful. If, after reviewing this information, you'd like to speak with us about your overtime case, please reach out to us through the Web Contact Form by using the "Contact Us" button or by calling (515) 281-1460. We make every effort to provide a same-day response to all communications received during weekday business hours. Initial telephone calls are always free. If it looks like we can help, it'll be our pleasure to meet with you, learn more about your situation, and lend you a hand. We handle as many of our cases as possible on a contingent fee basis, meaning that there's no fee unless we make a monetary recovery for you.
Erbe Law Firm
2501 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50312
Erbe Law Firm has proudly served clients throughout Iowa since 2005 from our offices in Des Moines. We look forward to hearing from you to see whether we can do the same for you.
Harley C. Erbe