You worked overtime for the last three weeks, but when you got your paycheck, you were surprised to see that some of the overtime wasn’t listed. You have to clock in manually each day, and you made sure that all your time stamps were written down and printed out, so you could easily tell your employer that your wages weren’t right.
When you told them that you were missing around 10 hours of overtime on your check, you were surprised by their response. They said you were paid at a normal rate, because you weren’t scheduled for those hours. As a result, they didn’t think you deserved overtime, since they hadn’t authorized it.
Is that legal?
In most cases, the answer is no. If an employee works 44 hours and overtime starts at 40, they should receive four hours at the higher pay rate.
It doesn’t matter if the employer authorized the overtime or not. If the employee worked overtime, then they should be paid accordingly.
This law was put into place through the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. This law created the 40-hour workweek and now requires certain employers of specific sizes and types to pay 1.5 times the normal rate (or higher in certain places in the country) when an employee works over 40 hours in one workweek.
Overtime has to be paid when an employee works more than 40 hours in a week, even if those hours cross two pay periods. It doesn’t matter if they requested overtime or if it was approved.
It is the company’s responsibility to make sure that employees do not work over 40 hours a week if they do not want to pay overtime.
Keep in mind that the state’s overtime laws may or may not trump the FLSA. If the FLSA guarantees a higher overtime pay, then that law should be used. If the state guarantees a higher payment, then the state law is the one that will apply. This is very important for employers to understand if they don’t want to face wage claims for misunderstanding the law.
When you speak with your employer about problems with your wages, it’s their responsibility to figure out what went wrong and to correct it. If they won’t pay, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against them and ask for them to cover your missing wages as well as other fees.