Imagine that you were working on a project assigned to you by your employer. You then realized that you worked past your normal work hours and over 40 hours that work week. The work you did likely entitled you to overtime pay.
Employees are entitled to overtime pay when they have worked over 40 hours in a week. Every hour worked above the 40 minimum hours is paid at a rate of 1.5 times an employee’s normal wage. For example, New York pays a minimum wage of $15 per hour. If an employee works 45 hours a week, then they would earn $22.50 for the 5 extra hours worked.
Unfortunately, many people are victims of wage theft. An employee who worked extra hours may not receive their overtime pay. Here’s how that happens:
You are misclassified as “exempt”
Employees who are considered non-exempt are entitled to overtime pay. An employer may misclassify an employee as exempt. An exempt employee would not be entitled to overtime pay. This kind of mistake, whether accidental or purposeful, can be devastating for employees.
You’re working as an independent contractor
A worker may have been misclassified as an independent contractor who would not be entitled to overtime pay. A misclassification like this may also cause a worker to lose out on other rights and benefits, such as minimum wages, workers’ compensation and health benefits.
You were told to work off the clock
An employer may try to avoid paying their employees overtime by asking them to work off the clock. The unrecorded hours the employee worked may not entitle them to overtime pay.
Employees who are denied overtime pay despite working above the minimum hours may need to learn about their legal rights.