- posted: Sep. 27, 2022
Federal and state wage and hour laws are in place to ensure that workers are paid a minimum wage for standard work hours and are given enhanced compensation for work exceeding those hours. Many employees are entitled to overtime pay, which is calculated at one-and-one-half times their regular pay for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a week. However, this rule does not apply to certain salaried employees. If your employer does not pay you for overtime hours, you may or may not have a legal remedy.
Overtime violations typically result from the following employment practices:
- Misclassification of employees as exempt from wage and hour restrictions
- Misclassification of employees as independent contractors
- Inaccurately reporting time worked
- Offering employees “comp time” (giving future time off with regular pay to avoid paying the overtime rate for actual hours worked)
- Failing to pay employees for their time attending after-hours training sessions
In New Jersey, state regulations require overtime to be paid to all employees except those specifically exempted. The short list of jobs exempt from overtime are those in one of these categories:
- Outside sales
Employees classified as executive, administrative or professional must be paid a salary of at least $684 per week and their work must satisfy certain definitions relating to duties and levels of responsibility. Field sales representatives are generally exempt from overtime rules without the need to meet the minimum salary. Employers sometimes try to classify employees in one of these exempt categories by creating false job titles or exaggerating job requirements.
In addition to exempt and non-exempt employees, many businesses work with independent contractors. In general, independent contractors work under the terms of an agreement or a contract and are not subject to day-to-day direction and control. However, some employers try to disguise employees as independent contractors by describing their job statuses inaccurately and/or by paying them fees instead of wages.
No matter what your employer does to blur the issue, as a nonexempt employee you have the right to overtime. You cannot waive this right, even if you sign an agreement to the contrary. If your employer fails to pay you required overtime, you can file a complaint with the NJ Department of Labor’s Division of Wage and Hour Compliance. You can recover not only back pay but also liquidated damages of 200 percent, which means getting three times the overtime pay due. You may be entitled to be reimbursed for your attorneys’ fees for taking legal action. You may also be able to recover monies owed for unpaid overtime even after you have left the job, although statutes of limitations apply to post-employment legal actions.
The experienced legal team at Cashdan & Kane, PLLC can represent you effectively in your overtime dispute. Our main office is in Westfield and we have other New Jersey locations to serve you. Contact us online or call 908-264-9331 for a consultation.