Common Wage and Overtime Violations

Common Overtime ViolationsCommon Wage and Overtime Violations


There are many common overtime violations. Many companies violate federal and state laws protecting the wage and overtime rights of American employees and their families.


Some of the most common wage and overtime violations are discussed below.


Failing to pay employees for all time spent working:


Many companies failed to pay employees for all the time they spent performing work-related activities. Some companies, for example, alter payroll or timekeeping records at the end of the pay period. Other companies fail to pay employees for time spent performing work activities before or after their paid shift, for time spent gathering and donning safety or sanitary gear, for time spent attending pre-shift meetings, and for time spent traveling between his shop and the job site and in traveling between clients.


The above conduct is illegal. Employees are entitled to be paid for all time spent performing work-related activities, even if the activities are “voluntary.”


Failing to pay for “unauthorized” overtime:


Some companies claim that employees are not entitled to overtime pay unless it is “authorized” by manager. These companies then refused to pay overtime, even though the manager knows the overtime work was performed. This is illegal.


Applying rounding rules that shortchange employees:


Some companies who use a time clock or other employee punch-in or sign-in system constantly round employee start and end times down to the nearest half or quarter hour. Such rounding practices often a real legal.


Misclassifying salaried employees as exempt “managers,” “supervisors,” “administrators,” or “professionals”:


Some companies pay employees a salary (instead of an hourly wage) and then tell employee that she is not entitled to overtime because she has an “exempt” job title. This often is illegal.


In fact, many salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay. Whether a salaried employees entitled to overtime depends on his/her actual job duties, not on the job title provided by the Company.


Misclassifying employees as exempt motor carriers:


Some companies contend that employees who drive vehicles as part of their job duties are not entitled to overtime pay under the “motor carrier” exemption to federal and state overtime laws. However, employees who drive small vehicles such as automobiles, vans, or pickup trucks generally are entitled to overtime pay. In addition, drivers who transport passengers exclusively within state lines are entitled to overtime pay.


Allowing work during meal breaks:


Some companies allow employees to perform work during meal breaks or require employees to be on duty during the meal break. This can be illegal, even if the work is “voluntary.” In addition, employees required to be “on-call” throughout their meal breaks generally entitled to be paid.


Independent contractors:


Some companies refused to pay employees overtime by calling them “independent contractors” instead of “employees.” But whether an employee truly is an independent contractor depends on the actual circumstances of his employment. An employee is not an independent contractor just because the company says so.


Failing to include commissions, shift differential pay and other monetary payments in the overtime calculations:


Employees who work over 40 hours generally are entitled to overtime pay equaling 1 ½ times their regular pay rate. Many employees, however, receive commissions and shift differential payments in addition to their hourly pay. In calculating the time and one half overtime premium, most commissions and shift differential payments must be included in the employee’s regular pay rate, and the employee’s overtime premium must be calculated based on this enhanced regular pay rate.


Averaging long and short workweeks:


Employees generally are entitled to “time and one half” overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 in a single work week, which is defined as a period of 7 consecutive days. Companies generally cannot avoid paying overtime by averaging a “long” workweek with a “short” workweek. For example, if the employee works 40 hours in one workweek and only 32 hours and annexed work week, she usually is entitled 8 hours of overtime pay for the first workweek. It does not matter that the first 48-hour week and the 2nd 30-hour week “average out” to two 40 hour weeks.


Compensatory time:


Most hourly employees not employed by the government are entitled to a monetary payment for overtime work. This overtime pay must be calculated at 150% of the employee’s regular rate of pay. It generally is illegal for private sector employers to pay nonmonetary “compensatory time” (or “comp time”) benefits instead of money.