What is Straight Time versus Overtime?

Straight Time Pay is when employers pay an employee their regular rate of pay even when they are working overtime hours; when overtime pay should in fact be time and a half. 

Our firm routinely receives inquiries from workers who are just paid their regular rate of pay or “straight time” for the overtime hours they work.  They want to know if this pay practice is legal or if they are being short-changed by their employer.

In many cases, the answer is NO – this is not legal, and they are owed a substantial amount of unpaid overtime for all of those extra hours they worked.  Potentially double the amount of their unpaid overtime wages, under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.   

We have seen a recent wave of these straight-time for overtime claims involving:  

  • Workers who are treated as Independent Contractors, but are really employees
  • Workers who are employed through staffing companies and told they will be paid at straight time for all hours worked, instead of the time-and-a-half required under state and federal law
  • Management and technology hourly-paid consultants, analysts and business analysts
  • Construction workers
  • Energy, Oilfield, Drilling and Petrochemical workers
  • Civil engineering workers
  • Shipbuilding workers
  • Disaster clean-up and remediation workers

 Many of these straight time for overtime cases involve an entire group or class of workers (ranging from 10 or 20 into the 1,000s) who have been unfairly and unlawfully deprived of their proper overtime wages.

Is it Worth Filing an Overtime Pay Claim?

The money owed to these workers can be very significant, individually and as a class.  In one recent case, the damages totaled almost $30,000,000 – with an individual recovery that averaged over $20,000, but ranged up to $200,000+ for a single worker.   

Potential clients frequently ask if pursuing a claim for their unpaid overtime wages is “worth it”.  As the example above illustrates, the answer is almost always – YES.

Until we provide them with an analysis of their claim, many employees underestimate the value of their claim.  In addition to unpaid back overtime wages, we can assert claims for liquidated (double) damages, court costs, attorney’s fees and interest.   Don’t short-change yourself, the evaluation we offer is both Free and Confidential.