Denial of overtime pay, commonly referred to as wage theft, is a common occurrence in America. Many employees are unaware that they are being taken advantage of, and miss out on earned wages. The most common industries that are guilty of wage theft include:
- Health Care
- Food Industry
- Call Centers
- Delivery Drivers
- Financial Services
- Technical Support
If you’ve been victimized by a company or employer that refuses to pay you overtime, despite the extra long hours you’re working for them, then our overtime lawyers can help. Our Mesa, Arizona labor & employment law team will work with you to determine the best course of action to take for your specific case. Among the other working standards it protects, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was created to establish minimum wage and overtime pay laws. According to the FLSA, anything over 40 hours a week becomes overtime. Overtime pay is paid out in time and a half, which means it is your typical pay plus half of that amount.
Ultimately, whether or not you can collect overtime is based on federal law, your specific job tasks, and how many hours you work every week. That’s why if you feel you’re entitled to overtime pay but it’s being withheld from you, possibly as the result of a workplace retaliation dispute in Arizona, then it’s important to talk with a qualified employment lawyer about your potential case.
What To Do If You Are Denied Overtime Pay
Generally, workers are expected to go to their employers as a first step to discuss why they are not getting overtime pay for their work. Workers must make a case as to why they feel they are entitled to overtime. You should have documentation to help argue your case. Next, the worker should contact the state labor board for the administrative procedure of filing a complaint.
However, you do not have to file a complaint with the state agency to file a suit against an employer for overtime violations. Competent legal advice can help you to pursue your case in court, if you so desire. Every employer is entitled to a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. Every employee is entitled to just compensation for his or her labor, as stated under the law.
If your employer has violated overtime laws and avoided paying you overtime, consult with an experienced employment attorney who knows the state and federal laws that apply to your case. You may have a legitimate complaint against the employer that can be made in court. Our attorneys can help you recover the wages that are due to you under Arizona’s employment laws.
Employees who are Exempt from Overtime Pay in Arizona
Workers classified as ‘white collar workers’ are exempt from receiving overtime in AZ, this includes professionals, administrators, and executives. These are the specific types of employees who are not eligible to receive overtime pay:
- Independent contractors
- Volunteer employees
- Certain salary paid employees
- Detectives and criminal investigators
- Babysitters and paid companions
- A few other special niches (fishermen, newspaper deliverers, small farm workers)
Besides just this list, your job may fall into a certain category that does not receive overtime. That’s why it’s important to hire a lawyer with a clear understanding of the federal regulations, but also of state law, in order to obtain the full amount of your lost overtime wages.
Overtime Pay Lawyers in Arizona
When an individual goes to work for a company, it is with the expectation that they will be fairly paid for the labor provided. However, some businesses make a habit of taking advantage of their workers, making them work beyond their normal working hours without providing the overtime pay that is legally required. In Arizona, certain laws apply to overtime pay, and violation of these laws could mean the employer becomes the subject of a lawsuit for the money due the employee.
What Constitutes Overtime?
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees are entitled to 150 percent of their hourly wages if they work over 40 hours each week. The law was instituted in the 1930s to prevent employers from having their employees work around the clock, and it was also intended to encourage employers to hire more workers, thereby relieving the unemployment problem. The law successfully accomplished these two goals, and it is still in effect today. Overtime laws have gone through a number of adjustments to ensure fairness to workers, as well as to ensure that employers do not have an undue burden on their profits.
Almost All Employers Must Pay Overtime
Any employer that is engaged in interstate commerce must pay overtime to employees. Interstate commerce is a very broad term that includes any sale across state lines, as well as purchases made across state lines, as well as business communications that occur across state lines. Although it is conceivable that a business operates very locally and does not engage in these activities, in actual operations, it would be a highly unusual case that is exempt from the law.
Some Employees Are Exempt
Not all employees qualify to receive overtime pay. In general, employees that receive hourly wages are qualified to receive overtime after 40 hours of work each week. However, if you perform certain types of duties, you may not be eligible for overtime, such as:
- Executive, administrative or professional work that is paid on a salary basis
- Independent contractors
- Salespeople that generally work away from the business site
- Certain types of computer specialists
- Employees of seasonal recreational or amusement businesses
- Workers engaged in fishing or seafaring operations
- Workers on small farms
- Employees of small newspapers or newspaper deliverers
- Employees of camps, religious and educational organizations or nonprofit businesses that work for less than seven months of the year
Not All Employers Play Fairly With Their Employees
Although overtime laws have been in effect for many years, many employers take advantage of workers’ lack of knowledge of these laws to get them to work off the clock, thereby increasing their profits at the employee’s expense. Some of the common problems regarding overtime violations continue to occur, even though employers are fully aware of the law. These employers use certain loopholes in the law to avoid paying their employees fairly.
Misclassifying to Avoid Overtime Pay
Some employers attempt to avoid paying overtime by classifying employees into categories that make them exempt from overtime pay. The employee may be classified as a “manager” even though their work is no different than other workers who supposedly report to them. The worker may be classified as a white-collar position, although their work does not require any independent judgment or discretion. The employer may dock employees’ pay based on performance, productivity or other reasons, which is illegal.
Avoidance of Counting Work Hours
Other employers may try to skirt overtime laws by not counting the hours worked. They may require employees to work “off the clock,” before or after normal working hours. They may ask workers to continue their work during unpaid rest periods or lunch breaks. They may require workers to do work at home for which they are not paid. They may not pay for time spent traveling to a work site, as part of normal work duties. They may try to avoid paying for training time or other mandatory activities needed for work.
Calculating Work Hours Incorrectly
Employers may also try to avoid paying overtime by miscalculating the normal work hours. They may fail to count all wages, shift differentials and commissions that apply to the employee. They may fail to count performance bonuses and prized into the employee’s hourly rate. These actions are violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
State Overtime Laws for Arizona
Employers are also subject to state employment laws. In Arizona, no specific laws have been passed regarding overtime pay. Employers in the state must comply with federal law that requires paying overtime for any time worked after 40 hours. Individuals who wish to file a claim against their employer for violations of employment statutes can go to the Industrial Commission of Arizona, the state agency that handles employment laws in the state. An Arizona attorney that specializes in employment law can advise workers who believe they have been denied overtime illegally by an employer in the state.
It’s Time to Settle Your Overtime Pay Case
Successful cases end up winning back all the unpaid overtime that the employee is owed. In most scenarios, the employee is given twice the amount of back pay they were owed up to two years before the case was filed. This is known as liquidated damages and is essentially taking the place of the interest that would have accrued on the overtime payments. Confronting an employer about unpaid overtime can be tough, which is why we offer our services and encourage you to give us a call for a private, no obligation consultation.
If you’ve been victimized by a company or employer that refuses to pay you overtime, despite the extra long hours you’re working for them, then our overtime lawyers can help. Our Mesa, Arizona labor & employment law team will work with you to determine the best course of action to take for your specific case.
Why Some Jobs Are Exempt From Overtime Pay in Arizona
Some jobs are not included in the provisions for overtime pay because the work is considered to be included in the general duties of the salaried position. A “duties test” is used to determine if tasks are eligible for overtime pay.
- The tasks must be part of the main or primary work the employee does.
- The essential position of the employee must be taken into consideration.
- The facts of each specific case must be considered.
- Job description does not necessary limit the types of tasks that are covered.
- Exempt tasks generally fall into certain categories.
What Types of Jobs Are Exempt from Overtime
The criteria for determining which positions fall into the categories of administrative, executive or professional are defined by both background and specific activity:
- Administrative positions that are exempt are those that involve non-manual or office work that requires discretion and independent judgment on the part of the employee. Therefore, a clerical job may not be exempt because it does not rely on the independent decision-making of the individual on a regular basis.
- Executive positions are those that involve management of a department or division of an enterprise and the “customary and regular” direction of at least two other employees.
- Professional positions are those that require advanced educational background in a specific field of learning, such as medicine, law or other careers. Creative professionals are determined by both background and experience in their field and are generally determined on a case-by-case basis.
How Is Overtime Calculated for Salaried Employees
Salaried employees have generally been included in overtime pay laws if they earned under a certain yearly salary. However, this salary amount has been lifted, and under new federal regulations the amount will be reviewed every three years to determine if it is still fair to employees or whether the eligible amount requires adjustment.
How Much Is Overtime Pay in Arizona
The state of Arizona does not have any laws that specifically regulate overtime. Instead, the state follows federal laws that require overtime pay for those who work over 40 hours in a week. Typically, employers are required to pay 1.5 times the hourly rate for employees who work overtime. Arizona does not place a daily limit on the amount of overtime an employee can work, as long as overtime is provided over 40 hours per week. Some workers, such as those that set their own hours or emergency service workers, are not eligible for overtime pay. Independent contractors are not eligible for overtime pay. However, the workers that contractors employ are subject to overtime laws and required overtime pay. Employees who feel they have not been paid in compliance with the law can file a complaint with the Arizona Industrial Commission, an agency that handles these issues.
Call our Employment Law team at (480) 464-1111 to discuss your case today.