If you work overtime, you are likely entitled to be paid at a higher than usual rate, known as “time and a half.” You might be surprised to learn that Georgia does not require the payment of an overtime premium, but federal law does, and employers in Georgia must comply with federal law. If yours has not done so, you have legal remedies available and the law protects you from retaliation for pursuing them.
Though some states have their own overtime law, in Georgia the only applicable law is the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA requires that most employees receive time and a half for every hour beyond 40 hours per week. If someone makes $10 an hour, their overtime rate would be $15 an hour. Federal law only calculates weekly totals, not daily. So, if you work 12 hours one day of the week but your weekly hour total is 40 hours or below, you may not be owed overtime pay.
There are also several types of workers to whom the FLSA overtime requirement does not apply, such as executive, administrative and professional employees paid on a salary basis. Outside salespeople are also not covered, due to their sometimes irregular schedules. Independent contractors are likewise excluded, as are workers in designated industries such as seamen, fishermen, farmers, seasonal recreational employees and domestic babysitters.
If you find you have been shortchanged on overtime pay, you may want to first talk to your employer about resolving the problem before resorting to legal solutions. Many times, the underlying issue is a simple misunderstanding. If nothing comes of these discussions, you may have the right to complain to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. An experienced employment lawyer can evaluate whether you meet all requirements for the FLSA to apply and can assist you in filing and documenting your claim for back pay and for enforcement of the overtime rate going forward. If your claim is successful, you will be able to recover any reasonable attorney fees you have paid.
Your employer cannot retaliate against you for making a claim. If you have evidence that retaliation occurred, the Wage and Hour Division can bring a lawsuit to collect not only the back pay you are owed but also an equal amount in liquidated damages as a penalty. This will double your recovery.
Attorney K.P. Reddy at The Reddy Law Firm, P.C. has extensive experience handling unpaid wage matters for clients in Atlanta, Suwanee, Marietta, Gainesville and Johns Creek and across Georgia. Please call 678-629-3246 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.