construction contractor work station

Holding dishonest businesses accountable for refusing to pay overtime is only half the battle. In a recent case involving a Tempe, Arizona-based construction contractor, the government has won its judgment but is still trying to locate workers who were cheated out of what they earned. If you’ve been denied the wages that the law entitles you to, having dedicated legal counsel is essential to recovering everything you are owed. 

How Employers Cheat Their Employees Out of Overtime

The law entitles most American workers to overtime pay for any number of hours worked over 40 during a work week. If you earn an hourly wage, that means your employer should pay time and a half (or 1.5 times your regular pay rate) for those hours. Failure to pay what a worker has earned could be in violation of federal law (the Fair Labor Standards Act) as well as the laws of the state in which you live.

Although employers are required to know and follow these rules, many of them intentionally violate the law and deny overtime pay to their employees. They use a number of tactics to cheat their workers out of overtime, including:

  • Averaging hours between weeks. For example, say an employee works 42 hours one week and 38 hours the second. For the first week, the employee should be paid 2 hours of overtime. But an employer might average hours across the two weeks (40 hours per week) and only pay straight time instead of overtime.
  • Miscalculating the rate of pay or number of hours. Employees should pay close attention to their pay records, which the law generally requires employers to give them. An employer may intentionally or unintentionally misrepresent the total number of hours worked or apply an incorrect rate.
  • Misclassifying an employee as exempt. There are some strictly defined exemptions to the overtime rules. They won’t apply to most workers. However, if your employer does attempt to exempt you from overtime, the burden will be on the employer to prove the exemption applies. Many employers are unable to do so.

The Case of Valley Wide Plastering Construction

An Arizona federal judge recently approved a judgment against Valley Wide Plastering Construction, Inc., based in Tempe, for $2.6 million. The company allegedly withheld overtime pay from workers and falsified pay records. Between 2015 and 2022, the business did not pay overtime and did not preserve certain timekeeping records.

If the company does not pay what it owes, the court could take further action. Valley Wide Plastering Construction, Inc., was also sanctioned earlier in 2022 for continuing to falsify timekeeping records while the case was still ongoing.

How Our Attorneys Can Help You

The Lore Law Firm has a national network of experienced attorneys who stand up for workers who have been denied overtime pay. We also advocate on behalf of employees who were not paid minimum wage or who have otherwise had their wages stolen by their employers. We take the steps needed to file and litigate claims on behalf of our clients and to recover the money that is due to them.

You may have questions about overtime, minimum wage, and other rules that affect your pay. The Lore Law Firm is ready to assist you. Fill out our free and confidential client intake form so a team member can review your case.

Michael Lore is the founder of The Lore Law Firm. For over 25 years, his law practice and experience extend from representing individuals in all aspects of labor & employment law, with a concentration in class and collective actions seeking to recover unpaid back overtime wages, to matters involving executive severance negotiations, non-compete provisions and serious personal injury (work and non-work related). He has handled matters both in the state and federal courts nationwide as well as via related administrative agencies. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Michael by using our chat functionality.