Employee Rights

Unpaid Overtime

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act (NCWHA) requires employers to pay their workers no less than minimum wage. Additionally, employers are required to pay their employees overtime for all hours worked over 40 hours per workweek. Overtime pay is equal to one and one-half times the regular wage rate.

As a general rule, unless exempt, employees must be compensated for any time spent working for their employer. This is true whether you are paid on salary or by the hour. This includes work performed before the employee is clocked into the job or after the employee is clocked out, as well as work performed away from the company. Employers cannot require you exchange overtime pay for personal days and other benefits. Employers are not allowed to have meetings “off-the-clock.” If you work over 40 hours in a week, you are entitled to receive overtime pay for those extra hours. If your employer has not paid you overtime to which you’re legally entitled, we can help enforce your rights.

Even an employee making a large salary as a “manager” or “supervisor” is not necessarily exempt from overtime pay. Additionally, an employee cannot agree to waive his or her overtime rights. For example, an agreement that stipulates that only 8 hours a day, or 40 hours per week, be counted as work violates the law. If an employee works over 40 hours per week, overtime must be paid.

Many employers attempt to avoid paying overtime by misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime compensation. FLSA exemptions are applied only to those employees that clearly fall within the “spirit and terms” of the exemption. Therefore, FLSA exemptions are narrowly construed against employers who classify their employees as exempt. The employer has the burden of proving the employee is properly classified as exempt.

Employers also regularly label employees as “independent contractors” to avoid paying overtime, minimum wages, or other wage benefits. If an employer is truly an independent contractor, no employment relationship exists and there is no overtime or minimum wage requirements. However, employers that attempt to elude the strict requirements of the FLSA and NCWHA by labeling employees as “independent contractors” instead of employees will be treated harshly.

If your employer is not paying you minimum wage or overtime in violation of federal or North Carolina law, contact the employment law attorneys at Maginnis Howard. The firm takes wage and hour/overtime cases throughout North Carolina, oftentimes on a contingency basis, meaning you do not pay any legal fees unless we recover compensation for you.