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What to do if your employer fails to pay you overtime

On Behalf of | May 22, 2023 | Employment Law -- Employee |

U.S. labor laws protect workers against unfair treatment. These laws outline workers’ wages, benefits and freedom from discrimination. However, some companies may violate these laws. One of the most common violations is the refusal to pay overtime.

Possible violations

Your employer may deny overtime pay based on your job title or by claiming that you are a salaried employee. The company may also exclude some of your time, have you complete work off the clock or use time clocks that round down your hours. Your employer may also base your overtime on a two-week, 80-hour period rather than the 40-hour, one-week period designated by law. Lastly, your company may consider bonuses or commissions and reduce your overtime payments.

What you can do

First, you should collect documentation on the hours you worked versus the hours you received payment for. Make note of any actions your employer required you to complete off the clock, including how long each task took you to complete. You should also collect emails or other communications that discuss your overtime. Include your employment contract (if any) and wage documentation. You can also collect witness statements or affidavits from other employees experiencing the same theft.

You could also opt to contact the Department of Labor in your state. This department can offer guidance on how to file a claim. You can also file a collective action for others your company refused to pay for their overtime. Seeking guidance from an employment law attorney is also a good option.


If you ultimately prove that you were wrongfully denied overtime pay, you could receive twice the amount owed to you. You should also recover any costs you incurred fighting the case, including your attorney’s fees.

If you are contemplating taking action, it’s important to do so as quickly as possible so you do not miss the window of time to recover.