Columbus Overtime Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions on Unpaid Overtime and Unpaid Wages

At the law office of Coffman Legal, we work with employees from all walks of life – blue-collar laborers and factory workers, nurses and health care workers, and many others. For the most part, employees rely on their employers to treat them fairly and honestly and to pay them what they have rightfully earned. Unfortunately, employers sometimes make mistakes, and they sometimes intentionally violate employees’ rights to the minimum wage, overtime pay or other wage & hour rights. See below for answers to common questions about wage & hour laws in Ohio, and contact the experienced overtime lawyers at Coffman Legal if you believe your employer is violating your rights and not paying you correctly.

How long do I have to file a complaint for unpaid wages or unpaid overtime?

You have at least two years from the violation to file a complaint. If the violations are ongoing, you have two years from the latest violation. We often seek unpaid wages and overtime for three years preceding the filing of legal action. In order to extend the lookback period for unpaid wages or unpaid overtime to three years under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), we must prove that the employer committed a “willful” violation.

I’m paid a salary instead of an hourly rate. Does that mean I don’t get overtime?

Being paid on a salary basis rather than hourly does not mean you are exempt (not entitled) from overtime. The FLSA does recognize certain exemptions for professional, executive and administrative employees. Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime so long as they meet all of the necessary requirements of the exemption. These white-collar exemptions do require that employees be paid on a salary basis of at least $684 per week beginning January 2020, but being paid that salary alone does not make them exempt. Instead, employees’ job duties must meet specific criteria, depending on the exemption the employer is claiming. Employers frequently misclassify non-exempt employees as exempt, so you should review your job duties with an experienced Ohio wage & hour lawyer.

Can I get overtime after working more than eight hours a day?

Ohio only requires you to be paid overtime if you work more than 40 hours a week. If, for example, you work ten hours a day but only four days a week, you would not be entitled to overtime. There are certain exceptions, however. For instance, health care workers may work on an 8 or 80 rule, entitling them to overtime if they work more than eight hours a day or over 80 hours across a 14-day span. For other employees, the 40-hours per week rule applies, even if your pay period covers two weeks at a time.

I work as a dishwasher, and my boss deducts the cost of broken dishes from my paycheck. Is that legal?

If these deductions take your pay below the minimum wage, the employer is guilty of a minimum wage violation. If you are still earning at or above the minimum wage but believe the deductions may be unfair or fraudulent, you might want to consult with our attorneys.

Am I entitled to be paid for being on call?

The answer depends on the circumstances. Generally speaking, if you are required to be on the premises at the workplace while on call, then you should be paid for your wait time. If you are free to be at home or off-site while on call, then you are generally not compensated for that time. Another way to look at it is whether you are being “engaged to wait” (compensable) or “waiting to be engaged” (not compensable).

Am I entitled to be paid extra for working nights or weekends?

Many employers offer shift differential pay (or shift premiums) for night shifts or extra compensation for weekend work, but this is not required by law. If your company is not following its policies with respect to you, you might have a wage & hour or discrimination claim. Even if the company does not pay extra for nights or weekends, the additional hours may entitle you to overtime pay.

Do I have to give two weeks’ notice before quitting?

If you are an at-will employee, you can quit at any time without giving notice or a reason for leaving. You are entitled to pay for all work performed up to the time you quit, and you should receive your final paycheck at the next regular pay period. If you can give notice and leave on good terms with your employer, it will look better on your employment history for future jobs, but it is not required by law.

How do I know if I am entitled to overtime pay?

All non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay when they work over 40 hours in any workweek. By default, all employees are entitled to overtime unless they are exempt, which your employer must prove. If you are working over 40 hours in a week and not receiving overtime compensation, you should contact our experienced overtime lawyers. We regularly litigate all aspects of unpaid overtime disputes on an individual or collective basis, including overtime cases involving hundreds or thousands of employees.

My employer is asking me to waive my overtime, is this legal?

No. An employer cannot create an agreement where you waive your right to be paid overtime wages. Many employers seek to reduce or eliminate overtime compensation. We often see employers who are unwilling to pay employees overtime premium. However, an employer who makes the decision not pay overtime wages may still owe those overtime wages. Our overtime attorneys are here to answer any questions you have about your right to overtime wages. There are many ways employers seek to avoid paying overtime and most of them are unlawful.

I work from home after-hours, but my employer says he does not have to pay me. Is he correct?

No. An employer cannot accept the benefit of your labor without compensating you for your hard work. Instead, employers are required to pay for all work that they suffer or permit. We often encounter situations where employers may not be compensating employees for work performed outside of the workplace, but not doing so would be unlawful. If your employer is not tracking or paying for your hard work performed either at the workplace or at home, then our overtime lawyers will help recover the wages you deserve.

My employer says that the wage and hour laws do not apply to me because I work at a small company, is this correct?

This is likely untrue. While it is true that there are certain minimum thresholds for federal and state wage and hour laws, the vast majority of employers will meet those thresholds. Our experienced wage and hour lawyers will answer all of your questions about your rights to wages under federal and state wage laws. Contact our wage attorneys with any questions you have about your right to wages, including but not limited to your right to be paid promptly and your right to overtime pay.

How to Report Unpaid Wages in Ohio?

How to Report Unpaid Wages in Ohio?

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