Unpaid overtime usually occurs when employers fail to recognize the state and federal laws that require them to pay their employees for every additional hour that they work in excess of 40 hours a week. If you work above the 40-hour limit in a given week, then you entitled to payment that’s 1.5 times more than your minimum wage.
Overtime disputes arise when the employer fails to compensate an employee adequately or doesn’t pay them for all the hours they have worked. Some common examples of overtime disputes include:
- The number of hours worked
- The rate at which an employee is paid versus the rate that they’re supposed to be paid
- Overtime exemptions applicable to certain workers
- Tax reporting among other administrative issues
A majority of these disputes arise when the employer owes the employee back wages, which occurs when there’s unpaid overtime or the hours were not billed as overtime. Overtime disputes can be as a result of error, negligence and sometimes, intentional acts like harassment-related issues.
Here is how to collect your unpaid overtime in New Jersey:
Ensure you are eligible
First, you’ll need to ascertain that you are a nonexempt employee and not an exempt one as per the FLSA standard. The latter is determined based on salary level, salary basis, and job duties – you have to meet all these three criteria to qualify as an exempt employee.
Calculate the extra hours
You need to compute the number of extra hours you’ve worked without compensation within the last two years. Be sure to add supporting documents, including your pay time sheets and statements. These will be enough to point out the unpaid hours as well as the compensation rates.
Talk to your human resources
Next is to discuss your issue with human resources. Usually, they will want to review and verify your support documents before processing the amount due. However, if they dispute the information you have presented, you may now consider bringing in a third party – an employment lawyer.
Seek legal help
Get an experienced employment lawyer to file an overtime lawsuit on your behalf for compensation of your unpaid hours. Keep in mind that the statute of limitation only allows you to submit the claim before two years elapse (or three years if your employer intentionally violated the wage law). Your lawyer may use any of these three methods to help you:
- Legal action in court
An employment lawyer may also help if your dispute involves a class action suit where a large number of workers are affected with similar payment policies.
Overtime payment issues involve complex legal terms and process, and it’s in your best interest to bring in an attorney. The lawyer will not only offer legal advice and help resolve a suit; they will also guide you through the process to ensure you achieve the best possible solution.
If your case goes before the judge, you will have to wait for the final ruling. If the award is in your favor, the employer will have to compensate you for all the unpaid overtime.