Our Frequently Asked Questions Section Gives You the Information You Need to Know About

Have questions about your legal matter and are afraid to ask? If so, head on over to our FAQ section in which we tackle a variety of important topics that matter to you. Find answers to questions regarding car accidents, medical malpractice, unpaid overtime, and a variety of other legal subjects that may be affecting you. 
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  • I am a plumber who is paid a straight hourly wage of $15 per hour, but I also receive a commission of 10% of every time I go out to a job. When I work overtime, my paychecks don't add up. How is my overtime supposed to be calculated?

    The Texas fair overtime lawyers at our office handle this issue on a regular basis. In fact, we have helped many employees - who work on commission but were unfairly paid their overtime - receive the back wages to which they were entitled.

    Calculating overtime for commissioned employees starts with determining the regular rate of pay. The regular rate of pay should be determined by taking the normal hourly wage, adding in any commissions or bonuses earned during the week, and dividing that number by 40 hours.

    The overtime rate should be one and a half times the calculated regular rate of pay mentioned above.

    The most common problem for many commissioned employees - including plumbers - occurs when the employer calculates overtime as one and a half times the normal hourly rate. They fail to add the additional commissioned earnings into the calculation, which results in hundreds or even thousands of dollars missing on paychecks over the course of a year.

    Let's take a look at how your overtime should be calculated, assuming you have an hourly rate of $15/hour, went out on ten $100 jobs in one week, and worked 43 hours.

    $15 x 40 = $600 straight pay
    10 jobs x $100 each x 10% = $100 commission
    $600 + $100 = $700
    $700 / 40 hours = $17.50 regular rate of pay
    1.5 x $17.50 = $26.25
    $26.25 x 3 hours of overtime = $78.75
    Total pay for week: $600 + $100 + $78.75 = $778.75

    1.5 x $15 = $22.50
    $22.50 x 3 hours of overtime = $67.50
    Total pay for week: $600 + $100 + $67.50 = $767.50

    While the difference between the correct and incorrect ways of calculating overtime is only $11.25, and may not seem like that much money, it adds up to $585 of unpaid overtime wages over the course of a year.

    To learn more ways to protect your paycheck, contact Kennedy Hodges for your free copy of The Ten Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage and Overtime Claim by calling 888.449.2068. You can also fill out our online form to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. Protect your paycheck and call today.

  • I work more than 40 hours a week at an internship doing a lot of office duties, but I am never paid. Are internships covered under the FLSA?

    Yes, the Fair Labor Standards Act has certain rules that govern unpaid internships. The Department of Labor has issued fact sheets on internships stating clearly that in order for an intern to be unpaid the employer must derive no immediate advantage from the intern.

    Unfortunately, many employers take advantage of interns and have them doing actual work duties, even working over 40 hours a week, all the while without paying them a dime. Just because you are willing to gain experience for free does not mean that you should be taken advantage of.

    In order for an internship to be considered unpaid, six criteria must be met. Read about recent case in the news:

    Blog: Intern Slavery reported at Hearst newspapers

    Texas interns: Do you know if the FLSA applies to you?

  • I'm a waitress and work for tips. Do I have to share my tips with the cooks and the dishwashers at the end of the night?

    No. "Back of the house" staff, or those people who work in the kitchen and prep areas, are not entitled to any of your tips, since they are paid an hourly rate. You are the one who works for tips and agrees to a lower hourly pay rate. It was also your service and interaction with the dining guest that earned you that tip. 

    When tips get shared, it is called "tip pooling," and employers have to meet certain conditions in order for tip pools to remain valid under the Fair Labor Standards Act. One of those conditions is that the tip pool cannot involve employees who do not customarily recieve tips, like cooks, food expeditors, or dish washers.

    Our Texas fair restaurant wage lawyers have compiled a brief list of people who are not entitled to share in your tips:
    • Cooks
    • Food preparation workers
    • Bussers
    • Dishwashers
    • Managers
    • Employers
    You are under no obligation to contribute to any type of tip pool, even if you are directly asked to do so by management. If you have been doing so, then you may be entitled to a claim. Order your free copy of the Ten Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage and Overtime Claim by calling 888.449.2068 today.

  • I work as a phlebotomist at a local hospital, and am responsible for drawing blood for all patients in the children’s wing. Since I make more than $455 per week, my employer said that I am not entitled to overtime as a healthcare employee in Texas, even though I usually work 45 hours per week. Is he correct?

    While making $455 is one of the conditions that must be met for an employer to exempt you from overtime in the healthcare field, it sounds like you would probably not meet the other three criteria that we have previously discussed on this site. So the answer is: No, you should not be exempt from overtime.

    The Texas overtime attorneys see cases like yours on a regular basis. We know that phlebotomists do not have an easy job, especially in the children’s’ wing of the hospital, where many patients are probably terrified of needles and getting their blood drawn. But since your job typically does not require you to consistently exercise judgment and discretion about those blood draws, or their results, you are not meeting one of the most important criteria for exemption.

    This also means that you are missing out on quite a bit of money each paycheck. For example, if you are making $15 per hour, but are misclassified as exempt from overtime, you are missing out on $37.50 each week. That may not seem like much money to some people, but it adds up to nearly $2,000 per year.

    Don’t let your employer’s misclassification be the reason why your paycheck suffers. Call Kennedy Hodges at today 888.449.2068. We will gladly answer any questions that you have – for free – and even give you a free copy of our book on overtime claims in Texas.

  • What is the “Computer Professional Exemption?”

    If you are a California computer technician or Illinois information technology worker, your employer may have told you that you are ineligible for overtime pay because of the Computer Professional Exemption.

    Most of the time, this will be a bald-faced lie: the Computer Professional Exemption actually applies only to a small set of computer and IT professionals, those who:

    • Address and attempt to solve new types of problems every day, without using a set protocol or established guidelines; and
    • Perform tasks that require creativity and advanced problem-solving skills, such as coding or advanced system design or architecture; and
    • Either work independently or in a management position (i.e., supervising the work of other computer and IT employees)

    Even a cursory examination of this list should be enough to show that most computer and IT professionals don't even come close to meriting the Computer Professional Exemption. In California and Illinois, computer technicians are generally low-level, non-management employees who are closely supervised. They must follow an established script or protocol when discharging their duties, and often perform intensely repetitive tasks (such as troubleshooting and updating software on individual users' computers, or maintaining computer systems and networks). If they are routinely denied overtime pay in California and Illinois, then their bosses are acting illegally.

    If you are a computer or IT worker in Illinois who routinely works more than 40 hours per week and has been improperly classified as exempt, call the law firm of Kennedy Hodges LLP for a free consultation. Our employment and wage attorneys represent workers all across the United States. Call us toll-free at 888-449-2068 today, and we will send you a FREE copy of our book, The 10 Mistakes that Can Hurt Your Wage & Overtime Claim.

  • Should I be paid overtime as a pest control technician?

    Pest control technicians are usually considered to be hourly, non-exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

    Technicians may be paid on an hourly and a commission basis and if the majority of your job duties include non-managerial work and other non-sales related work then yes - you are generally eligible to receive overtime pay. Overtime is paid at a premium of 1.5 times your regular pay rate for every hour over 40 worked in a work week.

    If you do not receive overtime pay as a pest control technician then you need to determine if you are a non-exempt employee. Our employment lawyers generally find that employers often fail to properly compensate workers with their federally-mandated overtime pay.

    Pest control technicians have successfully brought wage and hour claims to court because they proved that more than half of their time was spent performing inspections or other non-sales related job duties.

    Learn how to recover your overtime pay as a pest control technician

    A free review of your job duties is generally all that is needed to determine your exemption status under the law. Contact our employment lawyers at 1-888-449-2068 to start a free case review today. Our firm has represented many workers in FLSA cases nationwide, including workers in national collective-action cases.

    Read more: Pest control technicians – exterminate paycheck theft. Learn when you should be paid overtime.

  • I am a commissioned employee, but my employer refuses to keep track of my hours and makes me count the tips that I receive as part of my commission. Is this allowed?

    No. As a commissioned employee, you are not required to consider the tips that you receive as part of your commission. That money is strictly for you, and it also does not need to be shared with anyone else, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    As for keeping a record of the number of hours that you work, the Houston overtime lawyers in our office strongly encourage all employees - commissioned and non-commissioned - to keep track of their own hours. However, the FLSA requires employers to keep track of these hours, too.

    Not keeping track of hours or counting tips towards commissions can cause your commission and overtime to be miscalculated, which can mean that you could be missing out on pay that you rightfully earned.

    If you are a commissioned employee in Texas concerned about overtime pay, you should be looking at your rate of pay and whether or not it adds up correctly to ensure that you are making minimum wage. According to the FLSA, your regular rate of pay must be equal to or more than one and a half times the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for each hour worked over 40. If your employer does not keep track of your hours worked, then you may not be receiving the overtime that you deserve.

    Still have more questions? Call 888.449.2068 today. The lawyers at Kennedy Hodges will provide you with a free copy of Ten Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage and Overtime Claim. You also can fill out this online form, and an attorney will contact you immediately to schedule a free consultation.

  • What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?

    The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, is a federal law established to ensure minimum wage and labor requirements. The FLSA was enacted in order to create fair standards surrounding minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping and child labor. The FLSA helps protect the rights of employees in the U.S. working in the private sector, or for federal, state, and local governments, regardless of whether you are a full- or part-time employee. This federal regulation covers almost 90% of employees in the workforce.

    Contact us for a free case review to determine if you have not been paid properly under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many employers will tell workers they are exempt from overtime, and this is simply not true!
    You cannot trust that your employer knows the labor laws. Contact us today for a free review of your pay stubs and job duties.

    Read more about the FLSA and how it applies to your job.  

    The lawyers at Kennedy Hodges have helped hundreds of clients to recover their back wages and overtime pay in just about every industry:

    Computer/IT, Service Technicians, Independent Contractors, Cable Installers, Sales Representatives, Tipped Employees, Nurses/Healthcare, Paralegal, Oil/Gas/Field, Call Center, Banking Industry, Retail Store Employees, Accountants/Auditors, Bookkeepers/Clerks, and more.

  • My boss requires me to answer my emails and phone calls at all times, even if it is after hours, but I do not get paid for time I spend doing so. How can I change this?

    As a Houston paralegal, you are entitled to be paid for the time you spend working from home, especially if your boss requires to perform the work.

    However, it can be challenging trying to convince your employer of this fact, particularly if you are scared that raising the question will cause you to lose your job. While your boss cannot legally fire you for insisting you be paid the overtime you are entitled to, it can still be hard to bring up the subject.

    The best thing you can do is be honest, up-front, and arm yourself with information. Find out your rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act, let your boss know that you are aware of them, and what you are entitled to. If you present your case in a clear manner with evidence that you have been working after hours, your employer will have to comply.

    Here is a list of what you can include in your “case”:

    • Copies of time-stamped emails you have received and sent
    • Records of your phone calls, including the time and dates that they were made
    • Tallies of any trips that you were required to make outside of normal business hours 
    • Lists of all of the times that you met with clients outside of the office

    If you are still unsure on how to proceed with your overtime claim, talk to us. The lawyers at Kennedy Hodges, LLP are practiced in Houston overtime claims, and we have even written a book on the subject. You can order your free copy by calling us at 888.449.2068, and we will even provide you with a complete (and free!) case evaluation.

  • I am a cashier and work more than 40 hours a week but I am not paid overtime. Is this legal?

    If you are a cashier, you are considered an hourly, non-exempt employee, which means you should receive time-and-a-half for any hours over 40 in a workweek. If you do not receive overtime pay, this is a violation of the wage and hour laws and you may have a wage claim against your employer.

    Whether you are a cashier, bagger, janitor or a produce employee you are usually eligible to be paid overtime.

    Kennedy Hodges has represented workers in all industries and we have found that low-wage workers are frequently taken advantage of by employers who try to cheat them out of their federally mandated overtime pay. Most workers simply are unaware of the labor laws and miss out on their due wages.

    If you are unsure if you are paid correctly, send us a contact form to tell us about your case or contact us toll-free at 1-888-449-2068 to start a free case review. Our employment lawyers can determine your overtime eligibility status with a quick review of your job duties and how you are paid.
    Read more: The 15 most popular jobs in America: If you work in these industries, make sure you are paid correctly.