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Employee not getting paid overtime by employer, employee's rights

Hico, TX |

not getting paid overtime company involved in payroll scam?

Attorney Answers 3


Depending upon how much you value your current position with this company, you could file a complaint with the wage and hour division of the Texas state agency which regulates labor and employment matters; you could also file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor , alleging a violation of the DOL's regulation that all nonmangerial employees must be compensated at time and one half for all hours worked in excess of 40 in any given week; you could also file suit in your local small claims court for the amount of these uncompensated wages up to the jurisidictional limit of the court which could be around $5K.

Take your pick of any one or do all three, (but bear in mind that it could mean the loss of your job).

Michael E. Hendrickson
Attorney & Counsellor at Law
211 North Union Street Suite 100
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

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I don't disagree with Michael E Hendrickson's answer, but have these comments about your situation:

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") -- explained at the web page linked below -- applies to most businesses, but not to all. If your company is a very small one that has no impact on interstate commerce, you may not be guaranteed time-and-a-half for your overtime beyond 40 hours/week.

Neither I nor any other attorney could possibly reach even a preliminary judgment about your situation without more details than you've provided. Those details would include what kind of job you're in, what kind of company you're working for, who owns it, how many hours a week you're working, what your regular wage rate is, and what's being paid, if anything, by way of overtime during those weeks when you work more than 40 hours.

Mr. Hendrickson's correct that there is a serious chance that as a practical matter, you could be fired by your employer for asserting overtime claims. However, firing someone in retaliation for asserting a potential FLSA claim is itself a violation of federal law. Usually, if you're being scammed by someone who's not paying what they legitimately owe in overtime, you'd be better off finding a new job anyway. But you do have to decide whether the risk of being fired -- even though it might strengthen your eventual legal claim -- is a risk worth taking.

There are many lawyers in Texas who are interested in representing people with FLSA claims, sometimes on a "contingent fee" basis where the lawyer fronts the expenses of filing suit, and where the lawyer only gets paid for his time when there is money actually recovered for the client, based on a percentage of what's recovered. These claims are especially attractive when there are SEVERAL people who are being victimized by the same company and the lawyer can sign all of them up as clients: One third of just one person's unpaid overtime wages may not be enough to interest the lawyer, but one third of twenty people's unpaid overtime wages may indeed be a good incentive.

In addition to the sorts of facts I listed above, any lawyer will also want to figure out up front, before deciding to take your case, whether the employer is likely to be solvent enough to pay off on any judgment eventually won. If it doesn't have much by way of property and assets, and if it's just going to close shop and disappear, with its owners slinking away across the borders beyond the reach of U.S. law, then there's little point in gambling on a lawsuit against that employer (which is what a lawyer is doing when he takes on a contingent-fee case).

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Are you being required to work overtime and are not being paid?
Are others at your place of employment asked to do the same?

I would like to discuss with you the particularities of your case.
I would like to help.

Please call as soon as possible.

Very truly yours,

Richard D. Weaver
Attorney At Law

The Weaver Law Firm
2000 West Loop South
Suite 1550
Houston, Texas 77027
Phone: 713-572-4900
Fax: 713-626-9708

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