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Many employees miss out on pay because they don’t know the law, or are reluctant to submit an overtime complaint.

If you are an eligible employee, your right to overtime is protected by the federal Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). You may be entitled to compensation and damages for lost pay. A lawyer can help you make this claim and challenge your employer in court if necessary.

To claim lost overtime pay, you must meet the deadlines for reporting. The information below can help you make lost pay claims.

You’ll learn answers to the common questions:

How far back can I claim unpaid overtime?
What is my unpaid overtime worth in Florida?
How can I collect my unpaid overtime in Florida?

How far back can I claim unpaid overtime?

A two (2)-year deadline applies to standard lost-overtime claims. This deadline is set by the FLSA and applies in every state.

The day you file the claim sets the limit for the time period that can be considered. For example, if you file a claim on August 12, your claim only applies to overtime that was lost between that date and August 12 of two years prior.


Additional coverage for “willful” violations

Your claim can be expanded to cover three (3) years if you or your lawyer can show that your employer’s violation of wage payment was “willful”. In general, a willful violation must be deliberate or a result of a policy that was intended to deprive employees of proper compensation.

A 2017 ruling in the case Souryavong v. County of Lackawanna, No. 15-3895 (3d Cir. 2017) clarified the test to be used to determine if a violation was willful. That court claimed that employees must show that the employer:

Knew that its conduct was prohibited by the FLSA
(Or) Showed reckless disregard towards the violation

In that case, even documentation showing that the employer was previously aware of the violation was not considered sufficient to prove that the violation was willful.

Due to the high burden of proof involved in these cases, employees should make every effort to make their claim within two years. You should contact a lawyer for a consultation as soon after the first violation as possible.


What is my unpaid overtime worth in Florida?

Florida does not have its own overtime law. Any claims you make in the state will rely on the rules covered in the FLSA. This law establishes that:

Employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek
Employees are entitled to at least one and one-half times their regular rates of pay
Your employer is not required to pay overtime rates for work on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime hours are worked on such days

Your unpaid overtime is worth the difference between the amount you should have been paid and what you were paid. For example:

If you work 40 hours a week at a warehouse and earn $15 an hour, you are entitled to your usual $15 an hour for the first 40 hours ($600), plus $22.50 (1 and ½ of your regular rate) for any overtime hours. Therefore, If you work four hours of overtime in the same period, you are entitled to an additional $90, for a total of $690.

These rules apply only to employees that are non-exempt. You may not be eligible for overtime if you are classified into one of the following exempt roles:


  • Executive
  • Administrative
  • Professional
  • Computer Employee
  • Outside Sales Employee


Even if you are classified into one of these roles, you may not be properly classified. You should speak to a lawyer if you believe that you should be eligible based on your work duties


How can I collect my unpaid overtime in Florida?

You should follow the process below to collect unpaid overtime in Florida. If you feel overwhelmed, you can contact a lawyer to help you through any of the stages.


Claiming your unpaid overtime

Determine whether you are exempt, or non-exempt. If you are classified as exempt, determine whether that classification is correct
File a civil claim through the Florida court system. Alternatively, you can contact the Department of Labor and allow them to guide you through the next steps
Provide notice to your employer that you are pursuing compensation through a suit or complaint
Seek redress directly from your employer if they cooperate

Your employer may choose to challenge your claim of unpaid overtime. If this happens, you may need to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve. The lawsuit process can be long and complex, so it’s important to seek a consultation with an attorney as soon as you can.


Have you been denied overtime pay?

If you have been denied overtime pay, you should act quickly. Remember, strict time limits apply to lost overtime claims. You may only have two years to submit a valid claim, and if you wait too long, you can lose any right to the pay you have been denied.

While it’s possible for cases to cover three years, proving intention on the part of your employer requires a significant amount of proof. As long as you meet the deadline limits, you may be able to claim the difference in the amount you should have been paid.

As Florida does not have its own laws regarding overtime, you will need to file your claim following processes set out in the FLSA. As your overtime lawyer we can be an invaluable partner during this process, and provide you with the support you need to recover what you may be entitled.