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Ohio Wage & Hour FAQs

Columbus Employment Attorney Answers 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 owe them. Unfortunately, employers sometimes make mistakes, and they sometimes intentionally violate worker 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 Coffman Legal in Columbus 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 an attorney.

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.

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