Most employees have a right to overtime pay. Generally, when you work those extra hours during the week (in excess of 40 hours), you deserve to be paid time-and-a-half. A worker who makes $10 per hour, for example, would earn $15 per hour when working overtime.
Unfortunately, employers often violate overtime laws to keep their costs down. It’s important for employees to understand how this may happen and what they can do. Below are a few examples of common violations:
- Telling you to take comp time: This is legal for some public government workers, but not for your average worker. Comp time is, essentially, giving you time off to make up for the extra time worked. Say you put in 50 hours during the week. Rather than paying you time-and-a-half for that time, your employer tells you to skip 10 hours the next week. This is not legal, and it undercuts what you should earn since your “comp time” is only paid at your standard rate.
- Failing to pay overtime at all: Failure to pay is a major issue that can happen in two ways. First off, you may just get your normal paycheck without the overtime on it at all. Secondly, you may see the overtime hours, but you may only be paid at your standard rate. Either one is a failure to pay you exactly what you are owed.
- Misclassifying you as an exempt employee: It is true that there are professions that are exempt from overtime pay. They are few and far between, but your employer may tell you that you fit the qualifications — when you actually do not — in order to avoid overtime pay. This misclassification costs you the wage you rightfully earned.
Have you experienced these issues and ended up being underpaid or not paid properly? It can be frustrating and expensive, but never assume you don’t have any options. You do have rights as an employee, and you need to know what legal steps to take in Texas.