Overtime Pay: Resources for Victims
If you have not been paid overtime wages due to you, Texas offers legal remedies regardless of your immigration status. You may claim back pay from your employer and seek administrative penalties, injunctive relief and even criminal sanctions against your employer. To file a claim for unpaid overtime wages, you need to know your rights and how to enforce them. Keep reading to learn more about your legal options regarding collecting overtime pay.
Are You a Victim of Overtime Wage Theft?
If you are paid by the hour, overtime pay equals 150 percent of your regular hourly wage times the number of hours of overtime (over 40 hours) that you worked in a particular week. If you are paid a salary, your salary must be broken down into an hourly wage for the purpose of calculating overtime pay. Different calculation rules apply for some employees, and some types of workers are not eligible for overtime pay.
State Civil Remedies
The Texas Payday Law provides you with a civil remedy (payment of damages and perhaps litigation expenses) against an employer who refuses to pay you overtime wages.
- You may submit a claim to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) within 180 days after your overtime wages become due.
- You may file a claim by filling out some paperwork and submitting it to the TWC.
- The TWC will notify your employer of your claim, conduct an investigation, and issue a ruling upholding or denying your claim.
- If your employer is in bankruptcy proceedings your claim will be denied; however, you can still file a claim with the Bankruptcy Court.
- Both you and your employer have the right to appeal an adverse TWC ruling.
State Administrative Penalties, Criminal Charges and Injunctive Relief
Although administrative penalties, injunctive relief and criminal charges will not directly put money into your pocket, they can be used as powerful bargaining leverage against a stubborn employer. The TWC can assess an administrative penalty of up to $1,000 against your employer if its refusal to pay was in “bad faith”, and in some cases it can seek criminal charges. The Texas Attorney General can also seek injunctive relief against an offending employer, meaning that the Attorney General can seek a court order ordering the employer to pay.
As long as your immigration status is not problematic, you may file a claim for unpaid overtime wages under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) within two years after it was earned. You submit a claim by filing it with the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor. The WHD maintains an office in Austin. The WHD will check your claim and if it is found to be appropriate, they may investigate your claim and try to recover your back overtime pay on your behalf. Even if the WHD declines to investigate or cannot secure your back wages, you can still file a lawsuit under the FLSA in federal court as long as the two-year statute of limitations has not expired.
The Workers Defense Project
The Workers Defense Project is an organization dedicated to the protection of the rights of low-income workers. They provide worker education; assistance to employees in negotiating with employers and filing claims against them; training for small employers and other services. They maintain offices in Austin and Dallas.
Contact Zinda Law Group Today
If you have a claim for unpaid overtime pay, you need a good attorney to fight for you. Zinda Law Group has been approved by the Better Business Bureau® and has an excellent reputation in Austin. Our employment law attorneys are experienced in protecting employee rights, and they will work tirelessly to see that you receive fair treatment. If your overtime wage dispute is based in Austin, telephone us immediately at 800-863-5312 for a free initial legal consultation.