Right to Overtime Pay

Can my employer deny me overtime pay?

No, not unless you are an executive, a professional or an administrator of the company, or if your duties fit some other recognized exemption.

An employer cannot deny you overtime pay (hours worked in excess of 40 in a a week) unless you are truly an exempt employee.

Many people misunderstand this area of the law.  Most think that an employer can simply say you are salaried and thereby deny you overtime pay.  Not so.

Unless an employer assigns work to you which fits a specific exemption and pays you the say salary every week, you may not be denied overtime pay.

Typical exemptions include:

Executive:  Requires that you have real management power over at least two full time people (or 80 hours per week of part-time staff).

Professional:  Requires that you have an advanced degree in a specific field of learning (law, medicine, engineering).

Administrative:  Requires that you perform duties related to the general business operations of the company (not simply the day to day production work of a company).

Your employer must also pay you on a salaried basis, which means that they may not dock your pay on a partial day basis if you work less than 40 hours.  They cannot have their cake and eat it, too.

Jobs that are frequently misclassified include:

Assistant Managers (if they don’t manage 80 hours per week of staff)

  • Secretaries (sometimes labeled “Administrative Assistants”)
  • Automobile Damage Appraisers

You are allowed to claim back pay for two years (a third under the federal law if the employer willfully violated the law).  You can also win reimbursement of your attorneys’ fees if you win.

Contact the Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, LLCfor more information or to submit a question.


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I worked for a retailer and was a Plaintiff in a class action for unpaid overtime wages. Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore did an amazing job of getting our unpaid overtime back to us. Every one at the firm that I dealt with through that process was wonderful to work with. I appreciate all they did for us more than you will ever know.
- L. LeHeup, Georgia