Overtime Wage Theft: What Laws Were Broken?

Last updated on: March 26, 2015

Overtime Wage Theft: What Laws Were Broken?

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay overtime payments to non-exempt employees for working more than 40 hours a week. This law applies throughout the United States. Texas state law also regulates the payment of overtime benefits. If your employer has unlawfully denied you overtime benefits, you are entitled to full compensation.

What Your Employer Owes You

The amount of overtime your employer must pay depends on the conditions of your employment:

  • Hourly employees: Your employer owes you 1.5 times your regular hourly wage for each hour of overtime you work.
  • Tipped employees: If you make the minimum wage for tipped employees of $2.13 per hour, your employer must pay you $5.76 for every hour of overtime that you work. You also receive a tip credit of $5.12 per hour, but your employer can offset the tips that you earn during overtime against this amount.
  • Salaried employees: Your employer must translate your salary into an hourly wage and pay you overtime accordingly. If your salary is designed to compensate you for a 40-hour workweek, he must pay you overtime just as he would an hourly employee after calculating your hourly pay based on your salary. If your salary is designed to compensate you for fewer or greater than 40 hours a week, or for a fluctuating workweek, the calculation gets more complex.
  • The “averaging” trick: Suppose you work 52 hours one week and 28 hours the next, for a total of 80 hours in two weeks. In this case, your average number of hours worked per week would be only 40 hours. This does not mean your employer doesn’t have to pay you overtime. He must still pay you 12 hours of overtime, because each week of work must be calculated separately.


Not all workers enjoy the right to extra pay for overtime work. Two major exceptions exist:

  • Exempt employees: Certain types of white-collar salaried employees do not have to be paid extra for overtime. These include corporate executives, administrators, outside sales staff, professionals and certain kinds of computer employees. Except for outside sales people, exempt employees must make at least $455 per week to be exempt from the overtime pay requirement.
  • Independent contractors: Self-employed workers are not considered employees and do not have to be paid overtime. Whether or not an employee is considered self-employed depends on the degree of their independence from whoever hired them. Freelance writers, consultants, plumbers and construction contractors are examples of workers who may be considered independent contractors, depending on the details of their working arrangements.

Employer Record-Keeping Requirements

Your employer is required by federal law to keep certain records about you, including enough information about your job, pay and working hours to allow the U.S. Department of Labor to determine how much overtime pay is due to you.

Your employer is required to present these records to representatives of the U.S. Department of Labor upon demand. Although you will not be entitled to anything simply because your employer failed to keep proper records, he could be penalized by the government for violating the FLSA.


If You Need Legal Help, Contact Zinda Law Group Now

If you have been denied overtime benefits or believe that you have been underpaid, you need a good attorney to protect your rights. Zinda Law Group has been approved by the Better Business Bureau® and has developed a stellar reputation in the Austin area. We have a number of attorneys who are experienced in fighting for employee rights, and we will not rest until you have received justice. If your overtime wage dispute arose in the Austin area, call us right away at 800-863-5312 for a free consultation on your case.