The holidays are hectic for many Florida workers. From retail to hospitality and shipping/logistics, as well as other professions, working overtime is common. But all too often, employers do not pay their employees appropriately. Understanding how to prove unpaid overtime is the first step to recovering wages that you are lawfully owed.
Holiday Pay vs. Overtime
Paychecks can be confusing around the holidays. You may think you are due unpaid overtime – but that might not be the case. For example, if you were given eight hours of “holiday pay” for Christmas Eve and were initially scheduled off and had to come in, the hours you worked would not be considered overtime pay. Even if your paycheck says 48 hours, and you only worked 40, those extra eight hours do not qualify for time-and-a-half pay. Overtime pay would only come in if you worked more than forty hours within one week. If you believe you have been denied appropriate wages for working overtime, consult with an unpaid overtime lawyer to determine your best options to recover unpaid overtime.
Know that employers do not have to pay you holiday pay — whether you are working or not. Additionally, even if your workplace has extended hours, such as companies like Target or Walmart often do during the holidays, that does not necessarily mean you should get paid more. But if you do work 40+ hours per week during the holidays, you should get paid appropriately.
Routes to Recover Unpaid Overtime
There are a couple of legal options that can be taken. One is to file a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). They handle violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), ensuring employers stay compliant with employment laws. The WHD route has limitations which you need to consider before making this important choice. Your overtime lawyer can help you make that decision. You would want to consult with an attorney prior to signing off on any “settlement” reached between the WHD and your employer.
An alternative legal option is to file a case against your employer for unpaid overtime. Because recovering unpaid wages can be quite complicated, it is recommended to partner with an unpaid overtime lawyer for either option. Expertise in wage and hour violations gives you the best opportunity for a positive outcome.
How to Prove Unpaid Overtime
When you are attempting to prove unpaid overtime, you need to provide certain types of information. The complaint process starts with your name, address, name of the company that did not pay you the appropriate wages, and their location. The complaint will also need to include your manager and/or the business owner’s name or the names of other relevant people, the type of work you were doing, the way you were paid (direct deposit, check, etc.), and when you were paid. These are the basics.
If you have check stubs, gather and organize these too. It is not absolutely necessary, but it can also help to strengthen your case. Do you have access to documentation of your schedule/hours worked? This is helpful to have for unpaid overtime claims, too and is a good overall best practice moving forward to ensure your employee rights to fair wages are being upheld.
If you take the WHD route, an investigation is launched after you file a complaint. If the WHD concludes that you are due to unpaid overtime, your employer is compelled to pay you what you are owed. But – it is often more complicated. Many employers will try to fight the decision and will have lawyers of their own leading the way. If you take the private route, your attorney will be there advocating for you, conducting an investigation specific to your concerns and gathering information to support your claim.
Proving an unpaid overtime claim is not simple. That is why having an unpaid overtime lawyer on your side is so important. They have a deep understanding of employment law and are skilled in standing up to bullying, powerful employers.
Do Not Delay Taking Action
All too often, employees wait too long to take action to hold their employer accountable for unpaid overtime. The non-payment of fair, appropriate wages may go on for months, or even into a year or more. This can amount to large sums of unpaid overtime. Do not delay taking action because there are statutes of limitations for filing a claim with your lawyer or filing a complaint with the WHD.
If you have been wondering how to prove unpaid overtime, the experienced lawyers at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., can help. We have taken on – and proven – many challenging cases for employees across the state of Florida. We are passionate about standing up for employees’ rights and are with you each step of the process, working diligently and aggressively on your behalf to your right to get paid appropriately for your hard work.
Contact us today to set up a free, confidential consultation. When employees want workplace justice, they call us. We are the employee’s law firm— a tireless legal team fighting for your rights.