Overtime Pay Lawsuits On The Rise

November 26, 2012

A new lawsuit alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”), including the failure to pay required overtime compensation has been filed by two Charlotte bankers. The wage and hour lawsuit alleges that the bankers were required to work overtime hours in order to meet quotas, but were not paid for their time.

The FLSA covers several different areas including child labor laws, however two main provisions – its minimum wage guarantees and overtime wage provisions - affect nearly all employees who work for a wage in the United States.

Specifically, the overtime wage provision sets forth that all employees who are not exempt from the FLSA must be paid at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any one work week. Although this sounds straightforward, it’s an employer’s failure to comply with overtime provisions that often leads to wage litigation.

If you have questions about the FLSA or believe that you may have been denied all the compensation you are entitled to, it’s a good idea to speak to an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney. If your employer has violated wage and hour laws, it may be possible to recover back wages, damages and even your attorneys fees.

Here, a former loan processor asserts that she and her co-workers were forced to work late to meet mandatory quotas and were not paid for their time. In a separate case, a Sun Trust Bank financial services representative also asserted that she was forced to stay late to make mandatory sales quotas. She claims that she was also required to work one night a week without overtime pay trying to sell services.

These cases represent a growing trend of wage and hour lawsuits being filed as the result of wage violations. Often as large companies have downsized they have demanded more hours from their employees. At the same time, more employees have fallen into a grey area of who is an “exempt v. non-exempt” employee. This classification can have an enormous impact on take home pay since “non-exempt” employees are entitled to overtime pay. On the other hand, “exempt” employees are not entitled to overtime compensation, regardless of the number of hours worked.

As a general rule, salaried employees who have wide latitude over how they conduct their jobs are exempt. Hourly employees and those who primarily take direction from supervisors are not.

One commentator noted: “[Employers are] squeezing the workers who are left, and they’re increasingly building into their business plans that this whole swath of jobs is exempt, even though it may not be.”

While some errors in classification may be due to employer confusion and inadvertence, other times, unscrupulous employers may intentionally misclassify workers in an effort to avoid paying high overtime pay rates.

If you have questions about the FLSA, or your classification, or if you believe you may have been denied the compensation you are entitled to, please contact the dedicated Georgia wage and hour attorneys at Buckley & Klein, LLP for an immediate consultation.