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Can your employer deny overtime pay due to an approval policy?

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2021 | Wage & Hour Laws |

Overtime wages can drastically affect the profitability of a business’s daily operations. The greater the contribution of staffing costs to the company’s overhead costs, the greater their incentive to keep those expenses low.

Many retail and restaurant businesses have policies that openly state that employees may not work overtime hours without receiving pre-approval from management or even the corporate offices. Such policies aim to deter workers from staying on the clock a little extra to claim an hour or two of overtime every week.

Sometimes, an employee winds up working unapproved overtime through no fault of their own. Someone may have called in sick when you were already close to 40 hours. There may have been an incident right before closing that required several extra hours of cleaning or prep work. Can your employer just refuse to pay you overtime wages when you have had to work more than 40 hours?

Employer policy does not supersede state or federal law

Federal law requires that employers pay non-exempt hourly workers at least one and a half times their usual wage for hours over 40 that they work in a specific pay period. Texas law also has similar requirements. Companies operating in Texas have to pay overtime wages to a worker even if that employee did not receive pre-approval for those hours.

The business might need to retrain or discipline the manager or team leader who verbally authorized the overtime, but it should not refuse to pay you. If the company tries to use its internal policy as an excuse not to pay you overtime wages or not to pay you for the hours over 40 that you worked, you may need to take legal action.

You deserve to receive pay for every hour you work

As an hourly employee, you don’t have the security of salary to rely on for your household budget. You need to receive full payment for every hour you work, including overtime hours and the extra wages they bring with them.

You may need to bring a wage claim against your employer for violating your right to overtime pay if they tried to deny you earned wages simply because their policy says no one can work overtime.

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