Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an exempt employee generally does not accrue overtime pay. That right rests with employees classified as non-exempt. Exempt employees often make a flat salary, but non-exempt employees usually receive their pay according to the number of hours they work.
Other differences include the fact that exempt employees must make more than $455 per week. Your job title does not dictate whether you are exempt or not. If exempt employees work more than 40 hours per week, they do not necessarily receive overtime pay. If your employer incorrectly classifies you as exempt, you may be owed overtime pay.
What happens if your employer misclassifies you?
If you suspect your employer misclassified you, your first step may be to talk to your boss. He or she may recognize that an error occurred and correct it. If this happens, you should also receive back pay for any overtime hours that you weren't paid for while you were incorrectly classified as exempt.
If your employer refuses to give you back pay for any overtime you worked, you may file a complaint. You may also do so if your employer refuses to reclassify you as non-exempt when the evidence supports it. Involving a state or federal agency could result in your employer also having to pay fees and penalties in addition to the money owed to you.
What happens if your employer fails to comply with the FLSA?
If your employer continues to refuse to reclassify you and fails to pay you any back overtime owed, you may need to take further action. Before trying to handle these things alone, talk to an attorney who is familiar with federal and Texas employment laws. A successful claim for unpaid overtime may require documentation you don't currently have access to, and an employment lawyer can investigate your case and help you secure a positive outcome.
In addition, some employers retaliate against employees for making complaints, and sometimes employees are harassed, passed over for promotions, and even demoted or fired due to legal actions by the employees. You should know that federal and state laws prohibit workplace retaliation, and you do not have to put up with these types of behaviors.
As you work toward receiving the overtime pay to which you are entitled, you may also need to deal with claims for retaliation, harassment and possibly even wrongful termination. Before taking any such steps, you can clarify your situation by speaking with a Texas employment law attorney who can advise you of your rights, verify your employment status and guide you through the complaint process.