Many Texas employers take advantage of the general lack of knowledge about overtime laws to deny their workers the overtime pay they have rightfully earned. Employers may even refuse to answer employee questions about overtime pay to keep them in the dark about their shorted pay or confusing paystubs.
Is Your Texas Employer Adequately Paying You for Overtime Worked?
Hourly employees are paid by the amount of time they work, and most Texas workers who get paid an hourly wage are entitled to protections under a federal law known as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Regulations under the FLSA include guaranteed overtime pay to employees who do not meet the requirements for exemption from its policies for any time worked over 40 hours within a single week.
The FLSA mandates the standards employers in the United States must meet for things like overtime pay and minimum wages. However, some workers (mainly white-collar employees) are exempt from these federal protections. Blue-collar workers and employees who are not paid on a salary basis and/or perform manual labor are most often non-exempt from FLSA regulations.
7 Ways Your Texas Employer Could Be Violating Overtime Laws
Seven common tactics Texas employers may use to evade paying workers what they are owed include:
Some Texas employers who learn they have been violating employee overtime rights will reclassify workers without paying back the overtime wages they previously earned. If you formerly did not receive overtime pay but started receiving it after your employer reclassified your position (from “exempt” to “non-exempt”) without modifying your duties, your employer may have been violating your overtime rights, and owe you “liquidated damages” (aka double damages) for your unpaid back wages.
Many Texas workers do not believe they are entitled to overtime pay because they receive a salary. However, in order to be “exempt” from the overtime pay laws, employees must be paid at least $684 per week, on a salary basis, and perform duties (managerial, supervisory, etc.) that qualify them as exempt.
Employers may illegitimately label their workers as temporary or independent contractors / 1099s to dodge overtime pay obligations as overtime pay is only legally required for “employees.” Merely labeling and treating workers as independent contractors is not enough – many of these so-called 1099 workers are actually employees, and entitled to overtime pay. There are numerous specific requirements that must be met for a worker to legally qualify as an independent contractor, and unless these factors lead to that conclusion, the worker must be paid as an employee.
Federal overtime laws mandate that employers pay at least one-and-a-half times an employee’s regular rate (including all bonuses and other non-discretionary payments) for any time worked in excess of 40 hours in a single workweek. There are almost no exceptions to this rule for hourly employees. Therefore, if you are an hourly worker and you are not receiving at least 1.5 times your regular pay rate for overtime, your employer may have violated federal and Texas wage laws. If you are getting paid straight time for overtime, this is a red flag and you should seek to have your situation reviewed by an overtime pay lawyer who represents workers
Deleting hours from timesheets or refusing to pay workers overtime pay because their hours were not pre-approved is illegal under state and federal law. Employers do not need to preauthorize overtime hours for workers to receive their overtime wages. While employers can have policies that will result in discipline if unauthorized hours are worked, they must still pay for the hours worked.
All work performed must be appropriately compensated, including for work performed:
- Before clocking-in
- After clocking-out
- Putting on necessary safety gear
- During meal breaks
- Traveling between work sites
- Attending mandatory work meetings
- Completing required training
Ensure you are having all time spent working documented to prove your eligibility for pay. If you are spending any significant time performing any work-related tasks while “off the clock”, you may be the victim of wage theft.
If the duties of your job do not include regular traveling away from your employer’s workplace (ie. Outside Sales), you may be entitled to overtime pay, even as a commissioned employee. Also, if less than half of your total compensation is made up of commissions, this may result in your position being considered non-exempt (entitled to overtime pay).
Partner With a Texas Attorney to Help You Recover Withheld Overtime Pay
At Lore Law Firm, we help hardworking employees like you recover the overtime pay to which they are entitled. If you believe your employer is improperly calculating your overtime pay or withholding overtime wages from you, we may be able to help.
We believe workers deserve to be paid fairly for their work and are committed to holding companies accountable for a failure to do so. To discuss your case with us today, call 866-559-0400, reach out online, or complete our contact form for a free and confidential review.