Wage theft is incredibly common. In fact, there have been studies claiming that it is the largest form of theft in the United States. It happens in many different ways, and it always results in employees being deprived of the wages that they have earned and that they were owed by their employers.
Just one of the ways in which employers do this is by committing overtime violations. Workers are supposed to be paid time-and-a-half for overtime, so these hours can be extra expensive for the company. Some employers only want to cut costs. Let’s look at a few potential ways that employers try to get around paying and why they can be a problem.
Only paying standard rates
First and foremost, some employers refuse to pay overtime and just continue to pay out at the standard rate instead of time-and-a-half. In some cases, they may not even inform employees that they are doing this in an effort to hide it, but the employees may notice the discrepancy on their paycheck. It’s very important to carefully document hours and compare them to paystubs.
Poorly defining weeks
Under Texas law, an employer can define what counts as a work week. It does not have to begin and end on Sunday. However, that week can only include seven days that are in a continuous stretch. So trying to define a week as seven days that have been broken up, for example, would be a violation.
Not offering enough comp time
In some cases, employers will offer comp time so that they don’t have to pay overtime wages. If you worked extra hours, they’ll just give you extra time off to make up for it. Some employees like this because they get to come in late the next day after working overtime.
Even if you’re fine with this arrangement, make sure that you still get 1.5 hours of comp time for every one hour of overtime that you worked. If you get the exact same amount of hours off that you worked, you’re actually being paid less than you are owed.
Workers who run into complications regarding their pay or believe violations have occurred need to know what legal options they have.