Employees Fighting for Unpaid Overtime in Federal and Missouri Courts

In recent years, employees across the nation have become more fed up and aggressive with fighting employers on overtime hours and pay. Many collective actions have been filed from 2008 to 2011 under the federal Fail Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by employees claiming they were forced to work overtime, but were not paid the overtime wages the FLSA requires. Workers who work overtime in Missouri should be aware of both the federal and state wage-and-hour laws regarding overtime and talk to an attorney if they are not being paid fairly.

Wage-and-Hour Lawsuits

Hourly workers have become more aggressive about suing their employers under state and federal wage-and-hour laws. According to Federal Judicial Caseload Statistics, the number of federal FLSA cases rose more than 15 percent between 2010 and 2011. The increase in the number of FLSA lawsuits filed in 2008 and 2011 was 32 percent. Over the last 10 years, however, the rise in cases is more than 325 percent. Most filings are by groups of employees who are collectively suing their companies, which can mean large settlements.

FLSA and Missouri Requirements

According to the Missouri Department of Labor, and the FLSA, employers must pay their employees for the actual numbers of hours worked. There are no minimum or maximum hourly requirements employees may be scheduled or asked to work. Overtime pay kicks in when a non-exempt employee works over 40 hours in a single work week, as opposed to more than eight hours in a day. Travel time to and from work is not work time, but travel during the course of normal work duties is considered work time and counts as paid hourly time.

Employers are required to pay a minimum of one and one-half times the workers hourly pay for their overtime hours worked if the employee is non-exempt. Employers cannot ask employees to voluntarily waive their rights to receive overtime pay, to be paid straight time, under both state and federal employment laws. This is an employment law violation on the employer's part if they do this, and employees have the right to file a minimum wage complaint against them. Workers may also file collective wage-and-hour lawsuits against their employers.

Right to Fight

According to legal experts, the FLSA, originally passed in 1938 and amended once in 1947, has not been kept up to date with how workplace standards have evolved in the last few decades. As a result, employers continue to struggle with how to apply federal and related state laws that require time-and-a-half for overtime pay to nonexempt employees. In addition, there is little case law to look to for advice, because many wage-and-hour lawsuits settle out of court. The U.S. Supreme Court has not heard a wage-and-hour case since 2005, but did hear arguments on a white-collar exemption case earlier this year.

If you are an hourly employee and you feel like you have not been paid the proper overtime wage, contact a Missouri employment law attorney with experience litigating unpaid overtime cases today. You have the right to fight for your earnings, so begin today by hiring an employment lawyer who may be able to get you what you deserve.