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David L. Kern

Overtime Pay Lawyer
Board Certified Specialist in Labor & Employment Law
Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Overtime Law
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Is your employer stealing wages from you?

If you stole money from your employer, what do you think would happen to you? You would probably be fired, you might be sued, and you could even go to jail!  But what if the tables were turned and your employer stole wages from you? What do you think should happen if your employer pocketed some of the hard-earned wages you were owed?

Every year, whether deliberately or inadvertently, employers take hundreds of millions of dollars from hard working employees by not paying legally required overtime. In 1938, the United States Congress enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to ensure that employees received an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. The FLSA requires that all employees be paid overtime for hours worked over 40 in a workweek unless they fall under a very narrow set of exceptions. Overtime is paid at one-and-a-half times the regular hourly rate of pay. You may be one of the many thousands of Americans who are owed large sums of unpaid overtime wages.

So what would you do if your employer stole wages from you? I hope you will consider contacting my law office. I have successfully represented thousands of workers who have been denied the pay they legally earned under the FLSA. I would love to have the opportunity to help you.

How do employers fail to pay overtime?

The Salary Myth

Some employers tell their employees that they are "salaried" employees and therefore not entitled to overtime. In fact, paying an employee a salary is not enough by itself to make that employee exempt from overtime pay requirements. The FLSA says that only a few types of employees can be made exempt by the payment of a salary. Many salaried employees are entitled to extra compensation for each hour worked over forty in any given week. If this applies to you:

Submit Your Claim

The Independent Contractor Myth

Some employers tell their employees that they are "independent contractors" and therefore not entitled to overtime. But the FLSA defines "employee" very broadly and chances are good that many workers classified as "independent contractors" are actually employees entitled to extra compensation for each hour they work over forty in a given week. If this applies to you:

Submit Your Claim

Having it Both Ways

Some employers want to pay their employees only for their hours worked but deny them overtime as if they were salaried. The FLSA says employers can't have it both ways. Workers who are paid by the hour are generally entitled to overtime regardless of their position. Even many highly skilled workers who could be exempt if paid on a "salaried" basis become non-exempt employees when the employer chooses to pay them by the hour. If this applies to you:

Submit Your Claim

"Off-The-Clock" Time

Some employers don't pay employees when the employee first starts working. Time spent waiting for work to start, going through security, receiving instructions in "pre-shift briefings", or putting on protective gear for work can all qualify as working time that must be compensated. But many employers don't start tracking paid working time until their employees "clock in" long after they first began engaging in work activities that must be paid. Similarly, some employers do not pay their employees for work time between projects like time spent driving from one job site to another. Others require employees to work through unpaid meal breaks without compensating them for that time. And still others require employees to "clock out" and remain at work without pay to finish up a job, prepare reports, and so on. Many other examples of unpaid working time could be given. If you are spending unpaid time at work for the benefit of your employer, there is a good chance you are entitled to additional compensation for that time. If this applies to you:

Submit Your Claim

Miscalculating the Regular Rate of Pay

Many employers make the mistake of paying overtime at one-and-a-half times the base rate of pay rather than one-and-a-half times the regular rate of pay. This is a mistake because the legal overtime rate is the regular rate of pay multiplied by one-and-a-half and the regular rate includes things like shift differential pay (e.g. extra pay for working at night or other inconvenient hours) as well as certain types of bonuses, commissions, etc. As an example, if you are earning base pay of $10 per hour with a bonus of $40, your regular rate of pay for overtime purposes may be $11 per hour (i.e., $440/40 hours) not $10 per hour (i.e., $400/40 hours). This would be the difference between an overtime pay rate of $16.50 per hour instead of $15.00 per hour. This may not sound like much, but if an employer makes these kinds of math mistakes repeatedly over the course of a couple years the unpaid overtime that is legally required can add up to a large sum of money. If this applies to you:

Submit Your Claim

What are employees entitled to?

Most employees are entitled to overtime pay for each hour worked over forty in a given work week. If an employer breaks the law, the penalties can be quite severe. Under the FLSA, employees are entitled to recover lost overtime pay for two years.  If the employer's actions are found to be willful, then employees can recover lost overtime pay going back a full three years. The FLSA also doubles the back pay amount owed as a penalty. This is called liquidated damages. And the employee's attorney also may be entitled to an award of attorney's fees.

All of these damages can add up to a great deal of money. For example, even if the amount of unpaid overtime was just $10 per week, a full time employee who received three years of backpay and liquidated damages could be entitled to receive up to $3,120 plus attorneys fees and costs of the lawsuit. Of course, many employees who are denied overtime are owed much more than that. For example, a non-exempt employee making $24,000 a year who works 10 hours of unpaid overtime a week for two years could be entitled to receive nearly $36,000 in unpaid overtime and liquidated damages.

Of course these are just examples. Each case is different and the damages recovery, if any, will depend on the facts of the case. If you would like us to consider your matter, please click the button below:         

Submit Your Claim


David L. Kern is a Board Certified Specialist in Labor & Employment Law who has practiced labor and employment law for more than 30 years. He received his Board Certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1993.  Less than 1% of Texas attorneys receive this Certification.  Mr. Kern's fellow lawyers have recognized him in Best Lawyer's In America (2005 thru 2014) and Texas Super Lawyers (2006 thru 2014). For more than 20 years, Mr. Kern has successfully represented thousands of workers in class action overtime pay litigation in Texas and throughout the nation.

Most potential clients contact us by transmitting an Overtime Claim Form via the internet.  If you prefer, you may print the Overtime Claim Form and mail it to us or fax it to (915) 242-0000.  Submission of the Overtime Claim Form, use of this website, or other contact with Kern Law Firm or David L. Kern does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Such a relationship can only be created by a written agreement signed by the client and by an authorized representative of Kern Law Firm.

David L. Kern is the attorney responsible for this website. The principal office of David L. Kern and Kern Law Firm is located in El Paso, Texas. (c) 2014 David L. Kern, All Rights Reserved. No copyright claimed to U.S. Government works.