In the United States, employers are required to pay most employees extra wages when they’ve worked in excess of 40 hours of week. The federal government passed the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA) in 1937, requiring that certain employees be paid 1.5 times the hourly rate for overtime pay. Employers are required by law to pay non-exempt employees at this higher rate.
Under the FLSA, there are exempt and non-exempt employees. Generally speaking, exempt workers – that is, workers who aren’t covered by the FLSA – include independent contractors and those working in an administrative, professional, or executive capacity. In an attempt to avoid paying overtime pay to certain employees, employers have them sign work contracts stating that they are independent contractors. However, this does not mean that they are independent contractors in the eyes of the government. There are certain qualifications an employee has to meet to be an independent contractor according to the government, and there are many workers who are entitled to receive overtime pay but are foregoing it because they are not aware that they are non-exempt employees.
It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a complaint regarding overtime pay. Employers are barred from firing such employees, docking their pay, making threats, or violence. If you’ve been denied the overtime benefits you deserve, or are experiencing retaliation for filing a complaint, an experienced overtime lawyer may be able to help.