As hardworking Alabamians, most of us know that when you work overtime, you are supposed to be paid, what is often referred to as, "time and a half." There are actually laws that guarantee overtime pay for most employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act is the federal law that includes provisions regarding minimum wage, overtime, child labor and equal pay. Alabama follows the federal laws regarding overtime for employees in the state. However, not all states do. If there are any contradictions between a state's law and the federal laws, the more inclusive or generous provision will apply.
Overtime Pay Requirements
In Alabama, an employer who either requires or permits an employee to work overtime, is generally required to pay that employee premium pay for those hours. Overtime is considered any hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a work week. The premium pay for overtime hours is, at least, one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay. As a result, an employer does not violate the overtime laws by requiring you to work overtime, regardless of how much, as long as you are compensated pursuant to the law.
Exceptions to the Rule
As with most things, there are a few exceptions to Alabama's overtime laws. Some are notable. For instance, if you are responsible for managing more than one other employee, you are not entitled to the premium overtime pay. The overtime laws followed by Alabama also state that you cannot spend more than 20% of your employment engaged in other occupations.
Employees who work in sales are generally not eligible for overtime compensation, nor do the overtime laws apply to those whose work tasks are primarily characterized as administrative. Finally, salaried employees, with jobs that require specialized skills and knowledge, are typically not entitled to overtime pay. However, employers are not allowed to pay a minimum-wage worker a salary, simply to avoid paying them overtime compensation.
What to do if you believe you have an overtime claim?
If you believe your employer has denied you appropriate compensation according to the overtime laws, you have options to ensure your rights are protected. Potential violations can be reported to the Wage and Hour division of the United States Department of Labor. The department can investigate your claim and determine whether further action should be taken.
Another option is to take legal action by filing a lawsuit. If you maintain accurate records related to your employment, including your pay records, you will have a better chance of succeeding in civil litigation. Hiring an Alabama employment lawyer who has specialized knowledge and experience with Alabama's overtime laws, will give you an even better chance at success.
Are there time limits for filing a lawsuit under the Fair Labor Standards Act?
Most legal actions have deadlines or time limits that must be met. The term "statute of limitation" refers to the time limit for filing certain types of claims in court. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the alleged violation. There is an exception, however, when there is evidence that the violations were committed willfully and intentionally. In those cases, the statute of limitations is three years. Because Alabama follows the federal laws, the same statute of limitations periods apply.
If you feel you have been denied overtime compensation, or if you have any questions regarding your employment rights, please contact Wrady & Michel, LLC, either online or by calling us at (205) 265-1880.