The following are the 10 most common mistakes we see employees making in the workplace with regard to entitled overtime wages. Keep in mind, employers looking to avoid paying overtime take advantage of the confusion in the workplace. The rules laid out by the FLSA are clear, but with exemptions, coverage questions, and unique circumstances it can leave workers unclear as to whether they are entitled time-and-a-half wages or not for their hours worked. If there is any question about whether or not you are entitled to OT for your work, review the details of your situation with our Florida overtime attorneys for clarity on what you may be owed.
1. Allowing employers to give them “comp. time” in lieu of overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
2. Allowing their employers to make them work “off the clock” or “through lunch” without paying them for their time.
3. Believing that their employers can make them exempt, or not entitled to overtime pay, because they are “salaried.” The test is not just on how you are paid, but the duties you perform.
4. Letting an employer classify them as an “independent contractor” when the legal test (called the economic realities test) really dictates whether someone is an employee or not.
5. Tipped employees are convinced by their employers that allowing other non-tipped employees to share in their tip pool is ok
6. Allowing employers to pay them “straight time” for overtime rather than time and one half for overtime hours.
7. Not keeping tracking of their hours when their employers don’t make them punch in and out (which is generally improper)- Write your times down in a journal and keep it.
8. Not setting boundaries for what your work hours and expectations are for your job- Family comes first. If you allow your employer to take advantage of you, they will. It is the nature of the beast.
9. Not keeping copies of the documents they get from their employer like paystubs, time records, notices, and handbooks. While you work for the employer, keep these documents. You never know when you might need them.
10. Staying in an abusive job for low pay and an unappreciative boss. Life is short. Sometimes we feel trapped in a job. But if you have confidence in what you do and you have the job skills and desire to do better for yourself, then do it.
Know what employer obligations are under the overtime laws to ensure you get paid what you are rightfully entitled. Don’t take your employers word that you can agree to not be paid overtime, don’t qualify, or aren’t covered.