Dawicke Law
Jason E. Dawicke, Attorney at Law
Dawicke Law
P.O. Box 663
Lewis Center, OH 43035

Overtime and Minimum Wage Violations

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes a federal minimum wage and requires premium pay for overtime work. Corresponding Ohio law sets forth a minimum wage applicable to most Ohio employees. Ohio's current minimum wage is $7.30 per hour, which is slightly higher than the federally mandated $7.25. Therefore, unless you fall within the exception of a select few positions (i.e. tipped employees like servers), your employer must pay you at least $7.30 per hour for each hour worked.

The second, and much more complicated component of the FLSA, relates to overtime pay. Under the FLSA, employers must pay at least one and one-half (1) times an employee's regular rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of 40 in a workweek (defined as any fixed and recurring period of 7 consecutive days or 168 hours).

Not all employees who work in excess of 40 hours during a given workweek are entitled to overtime compensation. You are not entitled to overtime pay if you are an exempt employee. Determining whether or not you are exempt can be very complicated. Exemption status is determined by whether you make more than a certain amount of money per week, and if you perform certain types of "white collar" work. In such cases, you are exempt from the overtime laws, and your employer need not pay you time and a half no matter how many hours you work in a week. If, however, the exemptions do not apply to you, then you are considered non-exempt, and your employer must abide by the "time and a half" standard.

There are three primary exemptions under the FLSA: (1) Executive; (2) Administrative; and (3) Professional. In order for your employer to establish that your work falls under one of these exemptions, thereby disqualifying you from overtime pay, your employer must prove that you are paid on a salary basis in an amount not less than $455 per week and that your principal duties are executive, administrative, or professional in nature. Determination of whether your principal duties fall under one of these categories can be tricky.

Certainly, some work is clearly exempt under the FLSA. For instance, most high- level managers are exempt under the Executive exemption while doctors and lawyers are exempt under the Professional exemption. There are, however, many positions that don't fall so neatly into these primary exemptions. Importantly, the actual work you perform rather than your job title controls when conducting this exemption analysis. Even so, many employers attempt to avoid their obligations to pay overtime by glorifying job titles and duties in an attempt to pigeon-hole the job into one of these primary exemptions (most commonly the Administrative).

In addition to the three aforementioned exemptions, there are other specific exemptions. For example, outside salesmen, truck drivers, and certain computer employees are also exempted from the FLSA's overtime provisions.

Common FLSA Myths

MYTH: The FLSA limits the number of hours employees can be required to work.

REALITY: The FLSA does not limit the number of hours an employee can be required to work, but rather provides employers with a financial incentive to limit overtime due to the premium rates that must be paid.

MYTH: The FLSA requires that employers provide a specified number of breaks and meal periods.

REALITY: The FLSA does not require that breaks or meal periods be given to employees. These benefits are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee or the employee's union.

MYTH: The FLSA requires that non-exempt employees working in excess of 8 hours per day be paid "time and a half" for the extra work on that day.

REALITY: Overtime is earned on a weekly basis. It does not matter how many hours you work on a given day. The relevant issue is the number of hours worked in the workweek.

MYTH: The FLSA requires that employees be compensated with premium pay if they work weekends or nights.

REALITY: These benefits are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee or the employee's union.

Biggest Myth

MYTH: I am paid a salary, so I am automatically not entitled to overtime pay.

REALITY: This is the most commonly held misperception about overtime pay. While being paid on a salary basis is a requirement in order to be considered exempt, it is not the only requirement. Your employer must also demonstrate that the work you perform falls into one of the exemption categories in order for the exemption status to apply. Therefore, YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO OVERTIME PAY EVEN IF PAID A SALARY.

If you feel that you have not been properly compensated for any reason, please complete and submit the following form fields:

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Employer at Issue:
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Submission of this form does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Upon review of your responses, I may offer to represent you. Unless and until you receive a signed letter from me confirming representation, I have not agreed to represent you. In addition, submission of this form does not relieve you from complying with all applicable statutory deadlines required for filing your claim(s) with the appropriate agency or court.