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Friday, October 18, 2013

Did my employer short me my overtime pay? Tips for Texas employees

Texas employees have a right to overtime pay
Salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay in Texas
By Sarah V. Kay

As an employee in the state of Texas, you have many rights that are owed to you, and due to the Texas Overtime Law, overtime pay is one of those rights.

It's all too often that Texas employees take home less than they should at the end of each pay week, despite the fact that they have worked long hours.

Below are some signs that you might have gotten shorted your overtime pay; if any of these apply to you, and you live in the state of Texas, it's important to get an aggressive and knowledgeable lawyer on your side.

If you've been told that you don't get overtime because you're in a salaried position

Your employer may mistakenly believe that employees who receive salary aren't entitled to overtime. Your employer could just be trying to fool you. In either scenario, your employer is wrong. The state of Texas ensures that all employees are eligible for extra compensation for working extra hours unless they fall into one of the categories for exemption, which include executive officers, some sales positions, some administrative professionals, and more. Check the list of exemptions and, if none apply to you, it's time to take legal action with your employer.

If you've been told that you aren't being paid for overtime because your hours weren't pre-approved

It's not uncommon for an employer to claim that they don't have to pay you extra because they didn't approve you to work overtime. Because managers are not always available to approve requests to work late, the state of Texas protects employees against this claim -- they must be paid the correct wages for working more than 40 hours whether those extra hours have been "approved" or not.

If you recently got a new job title, but no new duties

Sometimes, employers will realize that they haven't been paying deserving employees properly and attempt to correct the issue by changing the employee's classification to make them eligible for extra pay. This will be beneficial in the future, for sure, but what about all those past paychecks in which you didn't receive your rightful compensation? Being re-classified so that you're eligible for overtime pay in Texas, in the eyes of the law, is essentially your employer admitting that they should have been compensating you the same way in the past. Thus, you may be able to earn up to three years' worth of unpaid extra hours.

If you've been asked or made to work off the clock

It's illegal in the state of Texas, and in most states, for an employer to ask you to work off the clock, whether it's before your shift, after your shift, or while you're on lunch. If ever there's a time where you have performed duties while not clocked in, you should be keeping track - you are eligible for compensation for this time.

The bottom line is that Texas laws are put in place to protect the working individual. If you're eligible for overtime pay and you've worked extra hours, you should be getting compensated - if not, it's important to take legal action and seek justice. More often than not, the court will be in your favor.

About the author: Sarah V. Kay is part of an elite team of bloggers from Philadelphia, PA who contribute to numerous law blogs and publications.

* Image license: Cohdra, Morgue File; attribution and royalty free