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2 ways companies deny their workers earned overtime pay

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2022 | Employment Law |

Both hourly workers and non-exempt salaried employees that earn lower wages should receive overtime pay if they have to put in more than 40 hours of labor in a particular work week. Your right to overtime pay has protection at both the federal and state level.

While the law may ensure the right to at least 150% of your average hourly wage in certain circumstances, your employer may begrudge you the compensation that you deserve. Some companies will make every feasible effort to avoid paying their workers overtime wages.

Certain forms of intentional wage denial are particularly common when employees make overtime wage claims. If you can recognize these common forms of employer misconduct, you can more easily fight back.

Enforcing the company’s no-overtime rule retroactively

It is quite common for businesses to have an internal rule forbidding overtime. By preventing workers from putting in more than 40 hours, the company avoids staffing complications that could have a massive impact on its budget.

It is perfectly legal for a company to have a policy against overtime and to prevent workers from putting in more than 40 hours. However, once a worker has qualified for overtime pay by working sufficient hours, the company must comply with the law by paying overtime wages despite its internal policy. Refusing to pay a worker for time already worked is a violation of an employee’s rights regardless of company policy.

Changing payroll records

Telling a worker that they won’t pay for overtime hours is a little too straightforward for some companies. There are businesses that take a less direct manner of denying overtime pay. A manager or someone in the payroll department may go back through someone’s time clock records and make changes to push their total hours worked below the threshold for overtime pay.

Although companies can update internal payroll records to ensure that they are accurate, it is never legal to change a worker’s time clock records to avoid paying them the rightful compensation that they earned. Workers who notice a discrepancy between their personal records and their paychecks may be the victim of a company intentionally altering timeclock records to prevent overtime wages.

Holding your employer accountable for denying you overtime pay may require going to court, but it will mean that you received the pay you should have gotten in the first place.