Not being paid the overtime you deserve as a Houston paralegal can be frustrating. But trying to summon the courage to talk to your employer about the situation can be just as nerve-wracking. You are probably unsure what to say, and you may be afraid that you will be fired simply for asking for the hourly time-and-a-half pay that you are entitled to.
First of all, it is important to know that under federal law, it is illegal for your employer to fire you for inquiring about your pay, especially when you are asking about your status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Furthermore, there are ways to approach your employer that may be in your best interest later on. The goal of the conversation should be to simply find out the reason why you are not being paid the overtime, not to try and argue about whether or not your employer is correct.
By approaching your employer and asking for an explanation on the reasoning behind the lack of extra pay, you will be able to find out what exception your HR department has you under.
The key to this step, however, is to just listen to what they have to say and document the conversation, but do not argue with their determination. If you disagree with your exemption, it is imperative that you simply accept their explanation and contact an attorney for further discussion. Do not threaten your employer with legal action; just thank them for their time and take matters into your own hands.
Remember these simple steps:
- Ask for an explanation at the appropriate time. It can be easy to rush into your boss’s office and demand to know why you do not see the extra pay on your paycheck. If you are upset, take the time to calm down and formally ask for a meeting to discuss their reasoning.
- Take the emotion out of the conversation. Getting upset can only make matters worse. Focus on the fact that you only need two questions answered: do you consider me exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and why?
- Document the conversation. You don’t have to bring a voice recorder into the office, but do take the time to write down what was said and the date that you had the discussion. Making a notation on a calendar or journal that you keep regularly is a great place to do this.
- Do not offer your opinion or demand that your opinion be heard during the meeting. Save that for the meeting with your lawyer. Take notes and provide them to the lawyer evaluating your unpaid overtime claim.
Want more tips on how to talk to your employer about your unpaid overtime as a Houston paralegal? Contact the attorneys at Kennedy Hodges today by calling 888-449-2068 or by filling out their online form, and you will also receive a free copy of their book, Ten Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage and Overtime Claim. Call or click today.