The Kielich Law Firm
2205 Martin Dr., Ste. 200-K
Bedford, Texas 76021
The Kielich Law Firm
2205 Martin Dr., Ste. 200-K
Bedford, Texas 76021
Dallas overtime lawyer Adam Kielich and The Kielich Law Firm represents 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. The most common pay claims overtime lawyer Adam Kielich prosecutes in Dallas and Fort Worth are for unpaid overtime pay. 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.
Overtime pay claims can compound into significant sums. A plaintiff can file a lawsuit for up to three years of unpaid overtime pay in Texas. Fort Worth and Dallas employment lawyer Adam Kielich represents clients in overtime pay and other claims under federal and Texas employment law.
Overtime lawyer Adam Kielich understands the complicated rules and legal procedures involved in wage and overtime pay claims.
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:
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. This page will help you understand: wage and hour laws in Texas; whether you receive correct pay for your work; and how Fort Worth and Dallas employment lawyer Adam Kielich can help protect your rights.
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. Texas overtime lawyer Adam Kielich represents clients in these minimum wage and overtime pay claims.
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. Dallas and Fort Worth employment lawyer Adam Kielich represents clients in unpaid overtime pay claims.
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. For this reason you should talk to Fort Worth and Dallas employment lawyer Adam Kielich before taking any action on an unpaid overtime pay claim.
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.
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:
Texas overtime lawyer Adam Kielich can help you sort through your work hours to determine if you received the pay owed for work performed in Texas.
The lunch break is a key way employers short change employees. When employees eat lunch at their desks, other employees or managers may ask for help with work or to cover the phones while they eat. This time, even if it is just waiting for phone calls, becomes work time and you must be paid for it. It must be counted towards your overtime pay. Employers also like to require employees to be ready to work at the beginning of their shift, requiring them to come in early to perform preparation tasks. This is work time whether the employer thinks so or not.
If your employer is not paying you for all the work you perform then you are definitely losing your regular rate of pay for that time and it is likely not counted towards overtime pay. You could be losing a noticeable amount of money each week through regular pay and overtime pay for that time. If your employer is short changing you ten minutes a day, five days a week, you are losing fifty minutes of regular pay plus time and a half for overtime pay. Over the course of a year that is 1.6 weeks of regular pay. If you believe you have claims for unpaid work then you should contact Texas employment lawyers right away. There is a statute of limitations on these claims and the longer you wait the less you may be able to recover.
The FLSA and Texas Payday Law require most employees to receive the minimum wage for all hours under forty hours. Certain classifications of workers are not entitled to the standard $7.25. Some industries have lower minimum wages established, such as tipped employees in the service industry (for more about tipped employees, see below), and some industries have no minimum wage set (such as lawyers) or the minimum is set by laws specifically covering that industry. Most employees receive coverage under the federal minimum at $7.25. If you are not exempt under the FLSA minimum wage requirements then your employer must pay you minimum wage and overtime pay for your work. If your employer shortchanges your pay then you should talk to Fort Worth and Dallas employment attorney Adam Kielich right away.
Under the FLSA and Texas Payday Law, non-exempt employees receive 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for each hour over forty hours worked in a work week. This does not mean 1.5 times minimum wage. It is the regular rate of pay based upon the regular hourly amount paid to the employee for hours worked under forty. Hours must be calculated in the work week the work is performed. Employers cannot shift hours or promise to pay it later. Because overtime is paid at a higher rate, employers have a reason to avoid paying for this work. Here are some common ways employers illegally try to avoid paying overtime pay:
In Texas, there are no protections for employees who refuse to work overtime and punished for the refusal. If you work the overtime, you must receive pay for it. You should never volunteer to work off the clock or accept your employer’s request that you work off the clock. If you are non-exempt (overtime pay-eligible) you should avoid situations where you are working in a way that makes it easy for your employer to deny you pay you are due. If your employer tries to make you work through lunch without pay you should go to a break area or leave the work site. Avoid working from home on projects where your hours are not documented at the employer’s place of business. This allows your employer to deny you did the work or that it must pay for it. If you may refuse overtime hours because you have unpaid overtime pay claims then talk to a Fort Worth and Dallas labor lawyer before taking any action to refuse work.
In Texas, only certain deductions may occur on your paycheck without your prior written authorization. These include deductions for taxes, certain automatic deductions for benefit plans authorized by law, alimony/spousal maintenance payments, child support, student loan payments and other court-ordered garnishments. Other forms of deductions, such as union dues, loans and, uniform costs, must be authorized in writing by the employee before a deduction can be withheld from your paycheck. If you owe your employer money and do not authorize the deduction, your employer can take other steps to recover the money owed. If your employer improperly deducted from your paycheck then you should contact Dallas and Fort Worth labor attorney Adam Kielich right away.
Many employers love the idea of unpaid interns, because they see it as unpaid labor. However, a person does not qualify as an unpaid intern just because they receive the title “intern”. The FLSA and Texas Payday Law look at six factors to determine whether a person is an intern or an employee. Two key factors often prove an unpaid intern is really an unpaid employee.
First, the intern must be in a training environment similar to an educational environment. That may mean that the internship is in conjunction with an educational program (such as for college credit) and the person receives training in the workplace rather than just doing the work of any other employee.
Second, if the “intern” is a substitute for the employer hiring paid employees, the person is an employee, not an intern. If the “intern” is performing regular work for the benefit of the employer and the employer, without the “intern”, would have to pay somebody to do the same work then the person is an employee and not an unpaid intern. In short, if the person works like any other employee, he or she is probably an employee.
An improperly classified intern is due minimum wage, overtime pay and potentially benefits. Unpaid internships are popular with employers who, due to the labor market, try to get away with test driving employees for free by calling them interns. When employers hire employees as unpaid interns, the employer can suffer lawsuits to recover wages owed and other relief. These claims require proving the unpaid intern is really an employee, which is not always an easy task. If you believe you have been misclassified as an unpaid intern then you should contact Fort Worth and Dallas employment lawyer Adam Kielich to discuss your potential claim.
Independent contractors are business owners that are self-employed or operate a business with their own employees. An independent contractor can contract to perform certain services for an employer in the same way you can hire an independent contractor to perform services for you. (For example, you could hire a plumber to fix a leak and a restaurant could hire a plumber to fix a leak and the plumber is an independent contractor in both instances.) An independent contractor does not receive wages. No minimum wage and no overtime. The independent contractor receives compensation based upon the contract between the parties.
Classifying workers as independent contractors is very beneficial for employers because they do not have to pay overtime, employment taxes, or benefits. This can lead to improper classifications of employees as independent contractors. Several factors apply to determine whether an independent contractor classification is appropriate. The factors focus on whether the worker operates like an independent business or under the normal control of the employer like any other employee.
An employee misclassified as an independent contractor is entitled to the same wage protections and benefits as other employees. Your employer may owe you additional pay for hours worked in the form of minimum wage and/or overtime pay. Talk to Dallas and Fort Worth employment attorney Adam Kielich about your possible misclassification.
Tipped employees must receive a reduced hourly rate from the employer with the expectation that the combination of the hourly rate from the employer plus tips will equal at least the federal minimum wage. If the federal minimum wage is not met the employer must make up the difference to comply with minimum wage and overtime requirements.
Employers often violate the FLSA and Texas Payday Law by illegally forcing tipped employees to share tips. Tip sharing or tip pooling is acceptable as long as it meets certain requirements. Tipped employees are always free to share tips with whoever they wish. Employers may have involuntary tip pooling with certain employees. It can only include employees involved in serving the customers. This includes waitstaff, bartenders, barbacks, hosts and hostesses, food runners and busboys. The employer and management cannot take part in the pool (even if managers assist in serving customers).
Mandatory tipping also cannot include back of house employees, such as chefs, cooks, dishwashers and janitors. Employers cannot require tip sharing on the amount of tips that brings the employee up to minimum wage; only the amounts in excess. Tip pooling can only be in an amount that is customary and reasonable; which is normally going to be a very low percentage of tips.
Your employer violates the FLSA and Texas Payday Law if you do not receive minimum wage and overtime, if applicable. Your employer also violates these laws if it takes part of the tip pool itself or to pay ineligible employees. Talk to Texas overtime lawyer Adam Kielich about tip pooling violations.
You work hard for your pay and you should receive fair pay for the work. Overtime pay lawyer Adam Kielich represents clients in wage claims and can help get you the pay you deserve. Contact my office today to discuss your wage concerns or visit my blog for more information.
Completing this form does not create an attorney-client relationship. I will respond to your information within 1-2 business days.
Do not send confidential information through the website.