In this economy, employers are trying to squeeze more work out of employees for less pay. Some even force their employees work overtime and fail to pay them the time and a half that is required under U.S. Federal law. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, an employer is required to pay any hourly or “non-exempt” salaried employee time and a half for those hours worked over 40 in a work week.
Employers that don’t follow this law can find themselves on the losing end of a federal wage and hour lawsuit. Under the FLSA, the employer can be on the hook for considerably more than the overtime they chose not to pay their employee. That is because under the law, an employee who was not paid overtime when it was due can bring a claim against her employer not only for her unpaid overtime, but also for what is called “liquidated damages,” which is usually equal to the amount the employer should have paid their employee.
Under the FLSA, an employer is also liable to pay for the employee’s attorney fees and costs. Of course, if they go the distance, they will also pay for their own attorney fees and costs. A simple failure to pay overtime when due could end up costing the employer so much more.
Some instances where unpaid overtime may occur include:
- Working over 40 hours per week without additional payment;
- An employer classifying their employee as a “non-exempt” employee when the employee does not meet the criteria under the FLSA;
- Being required to work through breaks;
- Being required to clock our for short breaks;
- Being required to be on-call, or complete work-related items at home or when you are not on company property working;
So how long does an employee have to bring a claim? The statute of limitations to bring a Utah unpaid overtime claim is two years. However, if the conduct was seen as willful (if the employer knew full well what they were doing), then that federal statute of limitations is increased to 3 years. Further, the statute could be as long as 4 years under Utah law for an unpaid overtime claim. This does not mean you should wait, however. Once you figure out you have an unpaid overtime wage claim, you should meet with a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the remedies available.
In short, don’t let your employer cheat you out of what is rightfully yours under Utah and federal law. Hold them accountable! Contact a Utah wage and labor attorney today to see what remedies you might have for an unpaid overtime violation.