Man tied behind deskThis is the next post in our series on dealing with wage theft by an Atlanta, Georgia employer. Our last article discussed assisting employees who were misclassified as independent contractors. It is important to understand, especially in today’s “freelance” economy, that one is not an independent contractor simply because the company says so. Depending on several factors they may, in fact, be entitled to all the protections afforded to regular employees. If you are involved in such a dispute then it is important to contact an employment law attorney immediately. In this article we will discuss the process of making a claim for unpaid overtime.

U.S. labor law requires that employers pay workers “time and a half” if they work more than forty hours in a week. This means, for example, that if someone’s hourly wage is $8 and they work forty-one hours in a week then they would be entitled to $12 for the forty-first hour of work ($8 hourly wage x 1.5). Not all workers are entitled to overtime. Those exempt from overtime rules include those who work on a salary and those who work on commission (such as certain salespeople). When calculating how many hours one works in a day it is typical to include short rest breaks (typically under a half-hour) and times where one is continuing to work even though they are technically “on a break.”

If an employer fails to pay required overtime then you may bring a claim against them. You may be entitled to the amount of overtime pay you are owed plus “liquidated damages.” Liquidated damages can be up to an amount equal to your unpaid overtime amount. This means that if an employer owes you $1,000 for unpaid overtime then they can also be forced to pay you $1,000 in liquidated damages (for a total of $2,000). When bringing a claim you may either file a claim with the U.S. Department of Labor or you may file a lawsuit directly. A lawyer can assist you with either of these processes.

If the company intentionally withheld your overtime pay then you have up to three years to file a claim. This is a “rolling time frame.” For example, if you were not paid overtime for a period of four years and filed a case then you would only be able to recover damages for the last three years. By contacting counsel immediately you help to ensure that your rights are protected. The rules described above also apply to cases involving unpaid wages.

Contact our office today to speak with an Atlanta unpaid overtime attorney. Danielle Obiorah and Teri Fields have dedicated their careers to assisting workers and believe that everyone is entitled to the strongest representation. We are ready to assist you. We also service areas including Macon, Savannah, Athens, Kennesaw, Marietta, Decatur, Dunwoody, Stone Mountain, Tucker, Alpharetta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Duluth, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Norcross, Gainesville, as well as the counties of Bibb, Chatham, Clarke, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, and Richmond.

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