Austin Overtime / Wage Lawyer
Under the law, employers are required to provide workers with a minimum level of pay for their services, as well as paying certain employees additional wages for hours worked above the typical 40-hour week. Unfortunately, there are many situations in which employers choose not to follow these laws, choosing instead to pursue profits at the expense of their workers.
Fortunately, in these situations, workers can take legal action to recover the compensation that is rightfully theirs. While we at The Melton Law Firm, understand that it can be hard for workers in Austin to understand their rights when it comes to minimum wage and overtime pay, having a lawyer on your side when dealing with wage-related issues can make getting the fair treatment and compensation you believe you deserve easier.
If you have a wage dispute with your employer and you believe that you have been treated unfairly, you have the right to take legal action to hold your employer accountable. The The Melton Law Firm know that you work hard for your pay and we will work to hold employers who do not fully compensate their employees should be held accountable. Our Austin overtime and wage attorneys believe that it is not acceptable behavior for an employer to mistreat their employees by not paying them what is rightfully due to them. Our understanding and skilled lawyers will review the specific details of your case and work tirelessly with you to get the favorable results that you deserve.
Austin based attorney, John F. Melton has worked with hundreds of Texas workers in fighting for their legal rights. Since 2008, Mr. Melton has been Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law in Texas. The The Melton Law Firm has the in-depth experience to assist workers in getting fair treatment and compensation for their unpaid wages. Don’t hesitate – complete our online form or give us a call at (512) 330-0017. We will advocate for you!
Do I need an Austin Overtime and Wage Attorney?
You may have several questions regarding why your employer didn’t pay your full wages. If so, you also want to know when you will get your wages paid in full. You are also concerned whether you can take any legal action without jeopardizing your job. No employee needs to fear taking action to hold their employer accountable for overtime or wage violations. The Melton Law Firm is prepared to help investigate your situation, determine if your employer has violated any labor laws, and will help you take action if your employer has failed to compensate you fairly.
Why Choose The Melton Law Firm?
The Melton Law Firm has worked tirelessly on behalf of employees who have been mistreated and unfairly compensated by their employers. Also, Mr. Melton has been named a Super Lawyer each year since 2011, an honor reserved for the top 5 percent of Texas attorneys. Mr. Melton is also a Fellow Member of the Texas Bar Foundation, an honor given to the top 1 percent of legal practitioners in Texas. Our Austin overtime and wage lawyers are dedicated and experienced, and we will fight for justice to settle your wage dispute. Complete our online form or call us at (512) 330-0017, and let us know how we can help you pursue action against your employer so that you can get fair compensation.
Overtime and Wage Lawsuits
State and federal laws govern a wide range of working conditions, including wages and hours. As such, it is legal for workers to file claims when they believe they have been the victim of the following:
Overtime violations – Most Texas hourly employees are entitled to an overtime pay rate for any hours worked over a total of 40 in a single work week (as defined by Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Overtime pay also called ‘time and a half pay,’ is one and a half times an employee’s normal hourly wage. Therefore, Texas’ overtime minimum wage is $10.88 per hour, one and a half times the regular Texas minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. If you earn more than the Texas minimum wage rate, you are entitled to at least 1.5 times your regular hourly wage for all overtime worked. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) covers explicitly specific jobs and exempts others from overtime pay. See additional criteria below:
Jobs Covered Under Overtime Pay:
- Hourly employees who earn under $455 per week ($23,660 per year) and who work in a non-exempt industry are eligible to receive overtime pay.
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) automatically qualifies certain types of workers who meet overtime pay requirements to receive overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a week. If your work involves manual labor (such as construction worker, factory attendant, or cashier, etc.), you are probably protected under overtime law.
- All first-responders, including police, paramedics, and firefighters, are specifically offered overtime protection under the FLSA.
- Practical nurses and paralegals, who would otherwise fall under the exempted category, are also specifically protected by overtime law as these professionals often work long hours and are subject to being exploited or overworked by employers. Hospitals are not permitted to require a nurse to work mandatory overtime hours, although nurses can do so.
Jobs Exempt from Overtime Pay:
To determine overtime exemption, the FLSA provides a series of tests for determining the overtime eligibility of an employee based on pay rate, working conditions, skill level, and other factors. If your job fits into one of the four main exemption categories to overtime law (executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales), then you are not protected by Texas and federal overtime regulations.
Further, overtime laws in Texas and nationally are designed to prevent workers from being exploited by their employers, with hourly wage earners (particularly those in blue-collar industries) being the primarily protected group. Due to the nature of the work environment and working hours required by specific careers, there are a wide variety of specific exemptions to Texas overtime eligibility.
Out of an estimated 120 million workers in America, almost 50 million are exempt from overtime law. See additional information below:
- Executives, administrators, and other professionals earning at least $455 per week do not have to be paid overtime under Section 13(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- External salespeople, some computer-related workers, and independent contractors -all of who may set their hours – are also exempted from TX overtime requirements. Other exempt positions include some transportation workers, certain agricultural and farm workers, and some live-in employees such as housekeepers.
Minimum wage violations – Texas’ state minimum wage rate is $7.25 per hour. This is the same as the current Federal Minimum Wage rate. The minimum wage applies to most Texas employees, with limited exceptions including tipped employees, some student workers, and other exempt occupations. According to Minimum Wage Texas:
- “Texas defines tipped employees as employees earning $20 or more in tips a month, rather than the $30/month specified in the FLSA. Standard exemptions to the Texas Minimum Wage include domestic employees, farm and ranch workers, prison inmates, full-time students, and certain seasonal recreation establishments.”
- “Texas employers may not pay you under $7.25 per hour unless you or your occupation are specifically exempt from the minimum wage under state or federal law.”
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Texas labor law require all employers in Texas to visibly display a certain approved federal labor law and Texas minimum wage posters to ensure that all employees are aware of current regulations. Failure to display a Texas labor law poster in the workplace can result in severe fines.
In addition to Texas-specific minimum wage exemptions described above, the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act defines special minimum wage rates applicable to certain types of workers. You may be paid under the Texas minimum wage if you fit into one of the following categories:
- Texas Under 20 Minimum Wage – $4.25 – Federal law allows any employer in Texas to pay a new employee who is under 20 years of age a training wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of employment.
- Texas Student Minimum Wage – $6.16 – Full-time high school or college students who work part-time may be paid 85% of the Texas minimum wage (as little as $6.16 per hour) for up to 20 hours of work per week at certain employers (such as work-study programs at universities).
- Texas Tipped Minimum Wage – Employees who earn a certain amount of tips every month may be paid a lower cash minimum wage, but must earn at least $7.25 including tips every hour.
Equal pay violations – According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), any equal pay or compensation discrimination is not allowed. The Equal Pay Act states:
“Men and women in the same workplace must be given equal pay for equal work. Their jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. Job content, not job titles, determines whether jobs are substantially equal. All forms of pay are covered by this law, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, cleaning or gasoline allowances, hotel accommodations, reimbursement for travel expenses, and benefits. Furthermore, if there is an inequality in wages between men and women, employers may not reduce the wages of either sex to equalize their pay.
An individual alleging a violation of the EPA may go directly to court and is not required to file an EEOC charge first. The time limit for filing an EPA charge with the EEOC and the time limit for going to court are the same: within two years of the alleged unlawful compensation practice or, in the case of a willful violation, within three years. The filing of an EEOC charge under the EPA does not extend the time frame for going to court.
Regarding equal pay/compensation and sex discrimination, Title VII also makes it illegal to discriminate based on sex in pay and benefits. Therefore, someone who has an Equal Pay Act claim may also have a claim under Title VII.
Regarding any other types of discrimination, Title VII, the ADEA, and the ADA prohibit compensation discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability. However, unlike the EPA, there is no requirement under Title VII, the ADEA, or the ADA that the jobs must be substantially equal.”
If you are not being paid fair wages, your employer should be held liable for their mistreatment. By filing an overtime or wage lawsuit, you stand a better chance of getting the wages you should have been initially paid.
Frequently Asked Questions
When a worker believes that he or she has been the victim of mistreatment at the hands of their employer, it is common to have different questions about your rights and options from a legal perspective. We have compiled this brief list of frequently asked questions to help you better understand how wage and overtime laws may affect you. If you have specific questions about your wages or your employer, contact us directly at (512) 330-0017 and speak to an attorney.
When must my employer pay me overtime wages?
The United States Department of Labor mandates that employers must pay non-exempt employees if they work more than forty hours in a work week one and a half times their normal pay. If your employer is attempting to deny you overtime pay, you may be eligible to take legal action to recover the wages that you are rightfully owed. The Melton Law Firm is prepared to fight for fair overtime compensation from any company that tries to deny overtime pay to qualifying employees.
How is a wage claim submitted?
Texas Workforce Commission administers the Texas Payday Law that assists employees in the recovery of their unpaid wages. However, it is best to attempt to discuss the wage dispute first with your employer to see if you can get resolution. If unsuccessful, “a wage claim must be submitted no later than 180 days after the date the claimed wages originally became due for payment. If part of your unpaid wages were due within 180 days, submit a claim only for that part. Your complaint needs to identify each type of unpaid wage claimed and how you determined the amount due” according to the Texas Workforce Commission.
How long will my case take?
Because the details of each individual’s situation are unique, it is impossible to estimate how long your case will take without discussing it with an experienced attorney first. Upon your first consultation, it is important to bring your paystubs, hours worked, and any compensation agreements that you have in place so that you can discuss your situation in detail with a knowledgeable attorney.
U.S. Department of Labor – Statistics
Any employee needs to be treated with respect regarding their work and get their fair and just compensation. Many employers neglect duties to their employees and do not compensate them appropriately. Further, employees can find themselves subject to harassment, denied raises, passed over for promotions, or even wrongfully fired when employee’s paycheck amounts are disputed.
A common remedy for wage violations is an order that the employer makes up the difference between what the employee was paid and the amount he or she should have been paid. The amount of this sum is often referred to as ‘back pay.’ Among other U.S. Department of Labor programs, back wages may be ordered in cases under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) on the various federal contract labor statutes.
The U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (WHD) reports that they have long recognized that enforcement alone is not enough. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, they proudly “engage in a robust outreach and education program that continues to educate employers and workers alike to promote compliance.” In the U.S., they conducted more than 13,000 outreach events in the past five years. In 2016 alone, they conducted nearly 3,400 outreach events in the United States.
Here are some interesting facts from the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (WHD), regarding workers helped by back wages in 2016:
- In the fiscal year 2016, WHD found more than $266 million in back wages for more than 280,000 workers.
- In the fiscal year 2016, WHD found $77.2 million in low wage industries for 106,000 workers.
- In the fiscal year 2016, WHD collected an average of $730,000 in back wages for workers per day.
Furthermore, the WHD investigations in the fiscal year 2016 found, on average, $930 for each employee were due back wages. In the United States, that is the reality for many workers who don’t get paid what they have earned. In the last five years alone, the Wage and Hour Division reported more back pay statistics:
- There were more than 1.3 million workers helped by the WHD in the last five years. That’s more than the entire populations of Boston, MA, Sacramento, CA and Savannah, GA combined.
- There were more than 1.2 billion in back wages recovered by WHD in the last five years.
Federal and state laws forbid harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other toxic employer behaviors. If you have been subject to these employer tactics, it is advisable to seek legal counsel with The Melton Law Firm in Austin.
Talk to an Overtime / Wage Attorney in Austin
The Austin overtime/wage attorneys at The Melton Law Firm understand the complex employment laws in the state of Texas. We know the residents of Austin want their employers to compensate them fairly and treat them with respect. Employees do not need to feel like they are forced to resign based on a possible salary reduction, reduction in job responsibilities, demotion, badgering, or harassment. If you believe that you have been treated unfairly and wrongfully compensated by your employer, contact The Melton Law Firm in Austin and we will work diligently with you to seek the fair and just compensation that you deserve.
No employer should be allowed to violate the law and the rights of their workers with impunity. If you are involved in a wage or overtime dispute with your employer, call (512) 330-0017 or complete our online form. Our determined attorneys at The Melton Law Firm, know how to effectively hold employers accountable for their actions and may be able to help you get the pay you believe you are owed. We are here to help you!