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What to do if you aren't being paid for overtime work

Workers deserve to be paid for the work they do. If they are not, then legal action can be necessary to compensate wronged workers.

For instance, if you have worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, then in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, you can be eligible to receive overtime pay. If you have not been paid properly for overtime hours, then it would be in your best interests to take steps to collect the money you deserve. Below, we discuss some of the steps you can take to remedy the situation.

  1. Make sure you qualify for overtime. Not every employee is eligible for overtime pay. If you are an independent contractor or exempt employee, for instance, then you are not entitled to time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40. Figure out what type of employee you are, and ensure you are properly classified.
  2. Document your overtime hours. Employers may deny your claim for overtime because their records do not indicate you have actually worked them. To back up your claim, be sure you keep close track of when you work, and retain any communications that reference your overtime hours.
  3. Talk to your HR representative or supervisor. In some cases, unpaid overtime is the result of a clerical error or other oversight. Under these circumstances, alerting your boss or Human Resources to the issue can be effective at resolving the issue.
  4. If there is no adequate solution, talk to an attorney about filing a legal claim. If you have gone through all this and still do not believe you have been paid properly, then talking to an attorney can be wise. An attorney can help you file a complaint and build a case seeking unpaid overtime, as well as any damages you may have suffered.

If you have questions or concerns about whether you deserve unpaid overtime and/or how to collect it, do not wait for your employer to come to you. Be proactive, learn about your rights and then take steps to protect them.

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