Although Texas does not have state laws governing overtime pay, many workers in the Houston area may not be aware that they do still have rights to overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Under this law, all non-exempt employees must be paid a minimum of one and one-half times their base wage for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a work week.
In order to qualify as an exempt employee, a worker must be employed in an executive, professional, administrative, outside sales or a certain computer position. It is up to the employer to make sure all employees listed as exempt truly meet the strict requirements of that classification. It is common for employers to misclassify employees, and when they do they can be held accountable. A Texas-based mental health organization was recently asked to pay almost $69,000 in overtime back wages after misclassifying 78 employees.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division reportedly investigated several of the company’s facilities in Texas, including those in Alpine, Fort Stockton, Odessa, Midland, Presidio and Van Horn.
The company was found to have incorrectly classified a variety of workers, including intake specialists, rehab providers and early intervention specialists.
A variety of medical professionals may qualify for the exemption under the professional category–such as nurses, pharmacists and therapists–but the employees in this case should have been paid time and one-half for any hours put in over 40.
FLSA cases, unfortunately, very often involve larger organizations like this taking advantage of a number of employees. This injustice happens every day in a number of industries here in Texas. Those who feel their employer may be misclassifying employees or requiring employees to work without pay are often wise to speak to an experienced employment law attorney about protecting their rights.
Source: NewsWest9.com, “Permian Basic Community Centers to Pay Nearly $69,000 in Overtime Back Wages,” June 7, 2012