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Working Overtime: When Does Unpaid Extra Work Become Illegal?

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You’re a hard worker and a dedicated employee, and you’re always going the extra mile for your company, including staying late every day to make sure your department doesn’t fall behind and lose business. Your total time in the office each week far exceeds 40 hours, but you’re still paid the same amount of money.

You might run away with an  “Employee of the Month” award, but did you know that your situation could be a violation of federal law?

The Fair Labor Standards Act was enacted, in part, to protect employees from unpaid overtime, but it’s not something most employees think about during their daily grind. However, if you’re an employee who is required to work more than 40 hours a week without receiving overtime pay, you could have grounds for an FLSA claim. Eligibility for overtime compensation depends on whether you are considered to be “exempt” or “non-exempt” under the FLSA or state-equivalent laws.

In addition to their role as severance lawyers in Burlington County, NJ, the team of attorneys at The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, PC helps clients file claims for unpaid overtime under the FLSA. Here are a few facts about the law we’d like you to know:

  • The FLSA only applies to situations in which there is a clear employer-employee relationship, or in which the employee is dependent on the employer for a paycheck. This is different from the relationship between a self-employed contractor and a party who hires the contractor to complete a job.
  • The FLSA delineates between “exempt” and “non-exempt” workers in determining who is eligible for overtime pay. An example of an exempt worker might be a company executive or, in some cases, a salesperson who works on commission. Exempt workers are not required by the law to receive pay for overtime hours, whereas non-exempt workers are.
  • “Off the clock” work is defined by work that is “suffered or permitted” by the employer but does not fall within the 40-hour work week and is not recognized as eligible overtime. There are many examples of “off the clock” work, and most of them are illegal under the FLSA. Yes, this means that if you are required to stay after an assigned shift to clean up, or you are asked to come before your shift and set up, you should be paid for that extra time.
  • Even if employees have voluntarily logged extra hours off the clock without getting paid for that work, they can request back pay after the fact.

What can you do to recover what you’re owed for unpaid overtime? The first step is assessing your situation and determining if you’re entitled to back pay, and how much. The next step is to contact The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, PC.

The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, PC, is here to guide you through the process. Contact us today for a consultation regarding unpaid overtime or any employee rights issue anywhere in New Jersey. If you need severance agreement lawyers near Camden County or an attorney who’s experienced in sexual harassment and discrimination law, we’ve got you covered for that too.