When should you call an overtime pay lawyer if you are an employee?
So, you think you have an overtime law issue, but you are unsure whether you should call an overtime pay lawyer. When is it time to call a wage and hour attorney?
1. When your employer breaks the overtime laws.
The most obvious time to call an overtime pay lawyer is when you suspect your employer is breaking overtime laws. An overtime pay lawyer can tell you what your rights are and how to handle the situation.
It is usually not a good idea to try to handle the situation on your own. First, you might be wrong about what the law is and what rights you have. Wage and hour law, especially when it comes to overtime issues, is very complicated with a lot of exceptions, exemptions, and hidden traps. Trying to resolve the situation without an expert could undercut your position. Second, an experienced wage and hour lawyer can advise you on how best to protect yourself from retaliation. Overtime laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act do have whistleblower protections, but you need to make sure you fall under those protections. That typically means addressing wage and hour violations in specific ways. A lawyer can tell you how.
2. When you are not sure if you are entitled to overtime pay in the first place.
Without expert advice, it is often unclear whether you are entitled to overtime pay, There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there. For example, did you know that being paid a salary does not automatically mean you are not entitled to overtime pay? Likewise, did you know that your employer has to calculate overtime on a single-week basis as opposed to a pay-period basis? Do you know all of the requirements for each exemption?
An overtime pay lawyer can answer these kinds of questions and help you figure out whether you are entitled to overtime pay. From there, your lawyer can tell you what your rights are and whether you have any unpaid overtime that is due. When it comes to whether you are entitled to overtime, it is best to seek expert advice—the law is too complicated and ambiguous in this area.
3. When you want to complain to your employer about possible overtime pay violations.
If you think your employer is breaking the law and you want to either complain directly to your employer, file a lawsuit, or complain to a government agency (like the Department of Labor or Ohio Department of Commerce), the you should talk to a lawyer before you do anything. Being a wage and hour whistleblower can give you protection from retaliation, but only if you do it in the right way.
An overtime pay lawyer can review your situation and advise you how to proceed. Sometimes this means having an attorney advise you behind the scenes. Sometimes it means having a lawyer directly handle the situation him or herself. Either way, you need to be careful so that you invoke all of the legal protections possible, especially if you are still working for your employer.