Best Ohio Overtime Attorney Answer: Can my boss tell me to work more than 40 hours a week and not pay me overtime? Do I need a contract to be paid overtime? What do I have to show so I can get paid overtime that I am owed by my job?
Picture a scenario where a supervisor or a manger asked an employee to complete a project. Nearing the end of a 40 hour work week, the employee goes to the supervisor and says that the project isn’t complete yet. The supervisor tells the employee that the project needs to be done by Monday morning and that the employee can take the work home to make sure the project is completed in time. The employee slaves over the project, working all day on Saturday and Sunday. Fast forward to Monday morning and the supervisor congratulates the employee for a job well done and is appreciative to the hard work put in over the weekend. While the sense of pride and adoration of the supervisor is all well and good, the employee may have one looming question: Am I going to get paid for that?
If the proper claims are brought under Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA“), the answer should be yes. Pursuant the FLSA, employers must pay all covered, nonexempt employees at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, plus time and one-half for all hour worked beyond 40 per workweek. In fact, the FLSA applies regardless of whether there is an employment contract or not; and employers cannot get employees to contract away these right because such contract are against the law and will not be enforced by courts.
Some lawyers who dabble in employment law think easiest way to figure out whether or not a one person is obligated to do something for another is to find that there was an express written contract in place stating that exact fact. While this is true, the reality is that every agreement between two people is not always put on paper and signed by both parties. But, because most employees do not have express contracts, most experienced wage and hour lawyers will not assert a contract claim and proceed under the FLSA. Our experienced wage theft lawyers have blogged about this regularly. (See, Should I Get Paid For Sleeping At Work?; If I Do Domestic Work, Can I Sue For Overtime Pay?; Are All Professionals Exempt From Overtime?; and How Do I Find The Right Attorney For My Overtime Claim?).
Recently, in Oxner v. Cliveden Nursing & Rehabilitation Center PA, L.P., plaintiff Joy Oxner filed a wage and hour law suit against her former employer Cliveden, claiming that she was cheated out of overtime pay. The facts may sound familiar:
Oxner also alleges that she was improperly compensated during her employment with Cliveden. Oxner contends that “for almost her entire tenure, though she was an hourly employee entitled to overtime pay for her hours worked over forty, [Defendants] insisted that Ms. Oxner be physically present and working at the Greene Street facility for a full forty hours per week and that she perform an additional forty to fifty hours per week `off the clock,’ at home, for which she did not receive any pay at all, let alone overtime pay.” … Specifically, Oxner claims that Lyons instructed her to work this extra time and that Lyons later “explicitly told [Regional Director Jennifer] Kelly and others at Cliveden that Ms. Oxner was acting at [Lyons’] direction… Although “Defendants Cliveden, Mid-Atlantic and PANH instructed and expected” Oxner to work the extra hours, Oxner was never paid for these hours despite her repeated complaints.
Having read the above after doing a simple Google search, you already know what should come next. The employee should assert an overtime claim under the FLSA. Simple as pie.
Unfortunately, Oxner’s attorneys went another direction and asserted a breach of an employment contract claim and a state law claim under Pennsylvania law. Cliveden moved to dismiss the state wage violation claims because the complaint failed to allege that the state wage claim was based on the existence of an employment contract.
Because, like most employees, Oxner never signed a contract and because the employer never promised to pay overtime compensation, the breach of contract claim predictably failed. While the employee prevailed on the state law overtime claims, check what the court wrote to see if you can spot the problem:
Accepting all factual allegations in the amended complaint as true, the Court finds that Oxner has sufficiently stated a WPCL claim for the hours she worked from home. Defendants do not dispute that Oxner was their employee and earned a set hourly wage. If Oxner’s supervisors specifically instructed her to work additional hours, as alleged in the amended complaint … then she performed a “useful service” for Defendants, “with their knowledge,” of a “character that is usually charged for” and Defendants expressed no dissent and availed themselves of the service Martin, 450 A.2d at 987 (citations omitted). Oxner would therefore be justified in entertaining a reasonable expectation of being compensated by Defendants for her additional work at her set hourly wage.
If you spotted the fact that the state law only paid the employee the regular rate for the overtime hours instead of time and a half as would have been available under the FLSA, you are a winner.
What happened to Cliveden serves as a cautionary tale. Try to find a firm that only works on employment law cases. Find the best lawyers that deal with this particular types of wage and hour issues on a daily basis. To make sure you don’t end up in the same situation as Oxner, contact experienced wage theft lawyers.
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. 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.