Working additional hours is a great way for workers to make some extra money to support their families. This time can add up to a significant amount in additional wages when the hours are considered overtime hours. As a way to cut corners, some Texas companies may employ deceitful practices in attempts to avoid paying their workers the money that they deserve.
A nuclear power plant was accused of not paying its security guards overtime. The problems began to arise when the company stopped outsourcing its guards and began handling security on its own. All of the guards hired by the company were put on salary and were not given overtime. According to the company, the guards were exempt from overtime because they had administrative and executive roles which disqualified them from being hourly employees.
The affected guards are attempting to claim over 5,000 hours of overtime that have accrued since 2009. There are four plaintiffs in this case, but their lawyer stated that there are others security shift supervisors in similar situations. He stated that they put their lives on the line each day in their line of work but are afraid to come forward for fear of retaliation.
According to a judge, the company could not prove that it reviewed the federal labor laws before it made the decision to not pay the guards overtime. The plant was ordered to pay $305,529 for damages and the unpaid overtime hours. The plaintiffs have not received any payments yet, and the company has 30 days to appeal the decision. Texas workers who choose to put in overtime may find it helpful to keep a record of the hours worked and then compare it to their pay checks. If there is an issue and the problem is not corrected, the employees may choose to seek legal recourse.
Source: vtdigger.org, “Entergy ordered to pay $305,000 in overtime“, John Herrick, March 16, 2015