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When to Hire an Overtime Lawyer in Arizona

When to Hire an Overtime Lawyer

Most Arizona employees must receive overtime pay for working extra hours. The state follows the rules outlined by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which requires employers to pay non-exempt employees overtime for working additional hours during a 40-hour workweek. Taking legal action could be the most effective way to hold employers accountable if you’re struggling to receive wages you rightfully earned. But do you need an overtime attorney to get the job done? 

Unpaid overtime could be a clerical error that can be fixed by pointing it out to your employer. But sometimes, employers use sneaky tactics to cheat their workers out of the money they earn. If your employer refuses to fix your overtime problem, it’s time to talk to a lawyer with experience in wage-and-hour violations. 

Turn to Matt Fendon Law Group today. Our lawyers have dedicated our careers to defending the rights of mistreated workers. You can count on us to use every resource to help you recover the money you deserve. With four offices throughout Arizona, we can meet wherever you are and explain your potential legal options. Contact us today for an initial consultation. 

Most Common Causes of Unpaid Overtime

Sometimes unpaid wages are an administrative mistake. However, other cases of unpaid overtime are deliberate. Here are some ways employers try to get away with not paying extra wages for extra work:  

  • Failure to pay for hours worked – Many employers fail to correctly count an employee’s hours, which essentially means employees end up working for free when they should be earning overtime. Depending on the circumstances, all your breaks, travel time, on-call time, and other work-related activities should count toward the number of hours you work each week.
  • Paying non-exempt employees a salary – Certain workers are exempt from overtime rules under the FLSA. But employers sometimes misclassify non-exempt workers as exempt since most salaried workers cannot receive overtime. That’s a mistake. Certain salaried employees should receive overtime pay. An attorney can determine whether you meet the criteria. 
  • Misclassifying employees as independent contractors – Independent contractors are generally ineligible for overtime. Some employers try to save money by misclassifying someone as a contractor when they should be considered an employee. A worker’s duties and schedule determine whether or not they are a contractor, not what their employer says.
  • Miscalculating overtime pay – For hourly workers, calculating overtime pay is straightforward. Employees should receive 1.5 times their usual hourly wages for any overtime hours. But for workers who are paid by commission, are eligible for bonuses, or work for tips, it can be harder to calculate their overtime pay. Sometimes miscalculations happen by accident, but a lawyer can investigate your case to understand the scope of the problem. 
  • Having employees perform both exempt and non-exempt duties – If an employee is exempt but performing the duties of a non-exempt worker, then the employee has been misclassified and should receive overtime pay.
  • Offering comp time instead of overtime – If an employee works more than 40 hours in a week but is not paid weekly, employers may offer time off the next week so their number of hours worked averages out to 40. This is illegal and considered a form of wage theft. Only government entities can legally offer comp time.

Industries Where Unpaid Overtime Problems Are Common

Unpaid overtime is particularly a problem in certain industries, such as: 

  • Healthcare
  • Food services
  • Delivery services
  • Call centers
  • Technical support services
  • Financial services
  • Sales
  • Retail
  • Construction
  • Oil and gas extraction
  • Tipped labor

Do I Need an Unpaid Overtime Lawyer?

If you are denied overtime pay, recovering money on your own could be difficult. Finding evidence of wage theft isn’t easy, especially if it was done deliberately. Your employer will likely challenge your claim to avoid paying out the money you’re due. 

That’s where an Arizona unpaid overtime lawyer can help. An employment attorney can discuss your legal options and estimate how much you might be able to recover in damages. An attorney can also explain the additional costs that could accompany a wage and hour claim so you can make an informed decision about what to do next.  

Keep this in mind: Employers are more likely to take your case seriously when you hire an attorney. There’s more incentive for them to make things right with the possibility of a lawsuit and negative publicity hanging over their heads. 

Settlement Process for Unpaid Overtime

If you believe you have been illegally deprived of overtime pay, your first step is to submit a complaint. If the amount is less than $5,000 in unpaid overtime, submit your complaint to the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA). If your unpaid overtime exceeds $5,000, you will need to file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor. You should include any evidence you have to support your claim as part of your complaint.

Once you have filed your complaint with the relevant agency, they will open an investigation. If the ICA or WHD agrees with your complaint, they will order your employer to pay you for the unpaid overtime. If the ICA or WHD rules against you, you will need to take your case to civil court. You might be able to reach a settlement with your employer before the trial begins, but if not, a judge or jury will decide your case. 

If you win an unpaid overtime lawsuit, you can collect your back pay from your employer. You could be awarded triple damages and attorney’s fees if you can show that they acted in bad faith, with no valid reason for withholding your wages.

How Our Arizona Overtime Lawyers Can Help

Matt Craig FendonUnpaid overtime cases can be drawn-out and complicated, especially if your employer digs in their heels after you make a complaint. An experienced overtime attorney can help you by:

  • Documenting your wage loss
  • Filing a complaint with the appropriate agency(s)
  • Filing a lawsuit against your employers
  • Negotiating a settlement
  • Taking your case to trial, if necessary

Have you been illegally denied overtime pay by your employer? Contact Matt Fendon Law Group today for a consultation with one of our experienced overtime attorneys. There is a small fee for consultations on employment matters.

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