Dallas overtime lawyers represent clients in the Dallas and Fort Worth area in pay-related claims including overtime pay, minimum wage, misclassification of employees as independent contractors or interns. Employers frequently avoid overtime pay because it’s a greater expense than normal pay (1.5 times your regular rate of pay). Employers often avoid overtime pay by misclassifying workers as salaried and exempt from minimum wage and overtime provisions. They also avoid paying Dallas and Fort Worth employees at all for some work performed to evade paying overtime pay. If you believe you have not been paid due overtime pay then contact Texas employment lawyers right away.
Wage & Overtime Claims in Dallas and Fort Worth
Texas and Federal law protects your rights to receive compensation for the work you perform. Employees may receive pay on a salary or hourly basis. If paid on or should be paid on an hourly basis then you have a right to:
- receive your hourly rate for each hour worked;
- receive overtime pay at one and a half times your regular rate of pay; and
- to receive no less than minimum wage (for most employees).
Employee claims may fall under both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the Texas Payday Law.
Your employer may be skimming substantial amounts of money each year out of your pocket for work you performed. Regardless of how much you make, money lost from your paycheck can have an impact on you and your family.
Overtime and minimum wage claims due to misclassification of salary and overtime in Dallas and Fort Worth
The first issue that can affect payment of wages in Texas is whether the employee is hourly or salary. Hourly employees under FLSA and the Texas Payday Law receive pay for each hour of work performed for the employer. (That work may be subject to overtime pay as well.) Salaried employees receive pay for performing a job, regardless of the number of hours worked. Whether they work thirty hours or forty hours, the pay is the same. However, not all salaried employees are exempt from overtime provisions. A small number of employees are salaried but not overtime-exempt. Even though they receive pay at the same rate for hours worked under forty hours, they must still receive at least minimum wage and overtime pay for all time over forty hours.
Overtime and salaried exemptions
Normally when people speak of salaried employees they mean exempt, salaried employees who are not eligible for overtime pay. Employees are not exempt just because they receive a salary or classified “salaried”. The FLSA and Texas Payday Law give specific requirements for employees to be overtime exempt. Some jobs are specifically exempt under the law, such as computer professionals, commissioned salespeople, outside salespeople, farmworkers, learned professionals (such as lawyers and doctors) and creative professionals (such as artists and musicians).
Others fall under a general classification based on the job duties of the position. These includes employees that are appropriately classified as executive, administrative, or professional employees. These employees must earn at least $2,600 monthly and meet the legal definition of each classification. The Department of Labor, over time, has broadly expanded these classifications to cover most white collar, mid-level and above jobs. It also covers anybody who manages two or more employees. If any employee is appropriately classified as exempt then the employee is not covered by minimum wage or overtime provisions. The salaried, exempt employee can work as much as necessary to complete job duties with no further pay.
Misclassifications claims for overtime pay
Misclassification claims can become significant claims under the FLSA and Texas Payday Law. Unpaid overtime of even a few hours per week quickly adds up. Employees misclassified as salaried and exempt can also pursue liquidated damages which act like punitive damages on wage-based claims. Attorney’s fees and other forms of relief are also available. These claims can be complicated because the overtime exemption rules are more complicated than they appear on the surface.
How misclassification of exempt and nonexempt occurs in Texas
Dallas employment lawyer Adam Kielich represents clients in exemption misclassification claims. The exempt provisions of the law are commonly violated in two ways. First, the employee may be misclassified as exempt when the job duties do not meet any criteria in the FLSA or Texas Payday Law to justify the exempt status. In that case, the employee may receive back pay for lost overtime pay and other compensation. Salaried, exempt employees must spend at least half of their time performing exempt duties. If the exempt employee is performing the same duties as non-exempt employees more than half the time then the employee is no longer exempt.
The second way the exempt provisions are commonly violated is by appropriately classifying a salaried employee as exempt but treating him or her like an hourly employee. If an employee is exempt under the three main classifications (professional, administrative, or executive) then the employee must be paid on a salary and not on an hourly basis. Although salaried employees can be generally tied to a work schedule (such as regular work days and hours of work) the employee cannot be docked pay for showing up late or taking partial day absences with the exception of full day deductions for (most) full day absences. If the employer is picking over the employee’s work hours as it would to an hourly employee then the salaried employee may not be exempt.
Work hours in overtime and minimum wage pay claims in Fort Worth and Dallas
The next issue to address for both hourly pay issues and overtime pay is what hours are part of the work week. Employers try to short change employees by not paying for time they consider work that the law considers work time. Employers also try to make employees work off the clock to avoid paying wages for all work performed. The following list includes work time that must be paid and counted towards hours worked in the work week: