If you are an hourly wage worker in the state of Texas, you should know some basic information about how wage and hour laws work. Sometimes employers violate certain parts of the wage and hour laws in order to maximize profits, while cheating their employees out of regular or overtime pay they are legally entitled to.

Here are three basic principles to understand about wage and hour laws in Texas. Read carefully to see if your employer is adhering to these standards. If not, you may have a case for an employment lawyer.

1. Exempt and nonexempt

One of the first things to understand if you receive an hourly wage in Texas is how your employer has officially classified you as an employee. There are two types of classification that an employer can specify: exempt and nonexempt. Employers often classify workers who earn a salary as “exempt” because they do not have to adhere to an hourly clock-in/clock-out schedule. Therefore, they do not earn overtime pay. If you are working for an hourly wage but your employer has classified you as exempt, this could be a violation.

2. Lack of overtime pay

If you work an hourly wage position in Texas, you should receive overtime pay for all hours that you work in a week beyond 40 hours. There are several types of service employers who more typically tend to violate overtime pay regulations. These include fast food restaurants, child care facilities, hotels, convenience stores, nursing homes and grocery stores. The U.S. Department of Labor issued a ruling regarding a Houston restaurant that did not keep track of its employees’ overtime hours and found it had failed to pay 24 employees a total of nearly $100,000 in overtime pay.

3. Minimum wage regulations

All employees in the state of Texas who work for an hourly wage must receive at least the minimum wage for their work. If an employer pays employees less than the federally established minimum wage, the company is in violation of the federal minimum wage law. 

If your employer is violating wage and hour laws in Southeast Texas, you may have a case for a lawyer. You should consult with an attorney to understand how to best proceed.