Federal law makes overtime pay a requirement for non-exempt workers in a variety of situations. There are also rules in West Virginia that govern overtime pay. In general, employees should receive at least 150% of their average hourly pay for the hours over 40 that they work in a specific week.
Many employers have zero-overtime policies that require managerial or corporate approval before workers can remain clocked in for long enough to qualify for overtime wages. In some cases, companies demand work from employees and then not pay them the overtime wages they deserve.
What should workers know about unpaid overtime claims in West Virginia?
Many scenarios result in workers denied fair pay
Unpaid overtime claims can arise because of a variety of different scenarios. For example, sometimes employers tell a worker paid a very low salary that they are exempt from overtime wages when they actually deserve overtime pay. Other times, companies misclassify workers and call them independent contractors to avoid paying overtime wages.
Some businesses manipulate time clock records, while others might use a company policy to justify not paying overtime wages after someone has already put in the time. There are also plenty of businesses that demand that their workers do some of their jobs off the clock without compensation. Any of those scenarios might lead to an overtime wage claim by the workers not paid what they deserve.
What happens during an overtime wage claim?
When an employee has evidence that they have worked overtime and have not received appropriate wages, they can take the matter to civil court. Workers need to know exactly when a work week for their employers starts and ends, as the company gets to choose when each week begins for the purpose of calculating overtime pay. Oftentimes, those pursuing overtime wage claims will find that the company has made the same missteps with regard to numerous other employees. As such a wage theft victim may be in a position to cooperate with multiple other plaintiffs for a more impactful lawsuit. Businesses may settle such claims in the hopes of avoiding court, or they may fight until a judge rules against them.
When successful, overtime wage claims can lead to workers receiving compensation for unpaid overtime based on their employment records. Comparing work records with payroll records could be a valuable first step for those who believe they may have experienced some kind of overtime wage violation per state and/or federal law.