Overtime Wage Attorney Best Answers: Is there anything I can do about my employer’s failure to pay everyone overtime pay? Do we each need to get our own wage and hour attorneys? What is the difference between an overtime class action and an overtime collective action? How do I find the top Ohio wage theft lawyers?
As the saying goes, often where there is smoke, there is fire. When an employer violates the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) or Ohio law by refusing to pay an eligible employee overtime, our experience has taught us that that particular employee is likely only one of many whom the employer has failed to pay properly. But what if that employee is the only one who realizes their rights are being violated? What about past employees who no longer work there? And if other employees want to do something about it, do they need to get separate attorneys?
Requiring each and every employee who was not paid properly to get their own attorney, and bring their own lawsuit, would be very inefficient. Think about it, the Courts could potentially be swamped with hundreds, if not thousands of overtime cases deriving from the same employer covering roughly the same period of time (the FLSA only offers a two year statute of limitations, which can extend to three years in the case of willful violations). And because the FLSA provides for mandatory attorneys fees and cost, the cost of these cases could skyrocket and become a serious burden on the employer.
Recognizing this problem, Congress authorized potential plaintiff’s the option to pursue a “collective action” under the FLSA. A collective action is like a class action, although it is actually quite different than a class action. For example, unlike class actions, in which potential plaintiffs are mailed something indicating they must “opt-out” to not be included in the class, collective actions are the opposite- potential employees must “opt-in” by returning completed paperwork.
A collective action begins with one or more plaintiffs who file a lawsuit alleging that the employer has failed to pay them and others the proper wages under the FLSA. The collective action can include any employee who is “similarly situated” to the lead plaintiffs. By “similarly situated,” the FLSA generally means any employee subject to a common policy, plan or design that stretches across company departments or locations. Obviously, employees who are exempt from the FLSA cannot join in on the collective action.
The Court must certify a proposed collective action before it will actually go forward. First, the case is “conditionally certified,” and the Court determines whether or not to certify a “class” of employees who are similarly situated. Subsequently, the Court will mail a notice to all potentially affected employees, including employees who no longer work for the employer, which gives the employees the option to opt-in to the case. Importantly, for opt-in plaintiffs, the respective statute of limitations is limited to when they opt-in- they cannot take advantage of the date the original plaintiff filed his or her lawsuit.
Once this has occurred, the plaintiff will engage in a limited amount of discovery as to the named and opt-in employees. If the Court determines that the plaintiffs’ claims can be resolved with similar evidence, or that a common policy existed, the collective action will be permitted to go forward.
If you even suspect that you are being paid improperly, it is important that you call the right attorney. As it turns out, you may not only be doing yourself a favor, but you may also end up helping everyone else your employer has failed pay correctly. If you any questions about the Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio’s minimum wage and overtime laws, or think you or believe that your employer is paying you less than minimum wage or otherwise improperly, your best option is to call the attorneys at The Spitz Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation. The wage and hour lawyers at The Spitz Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your overtime pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, call 866-797-6040.
If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of your wages for all of your lawfully earned overtime compensation at a rate of one and half times your normal wages as requires under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards laws or you are an nonexempt employee that has been misclassified as exempt or independent contractor, contact the attorneys at The Spitz Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation. Or, maybe you are being misclassified as an independent contractor. The wage and hour lawyers at The Spitz Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your overtime pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, call 866-797-6040.
The materials available at the top of this overtime, wage and hour web page and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “Am I entitled to overtime?”, “Does my job have to pay me for …”, “My paycheck is not right…” or “What do I do if…”, the your best option is to contact an Ohio overtime attorney to obtain advice with respect to FLSA questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top of this page or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.