Frequently Asked Unpaid Wages and Overtime Questions

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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  • 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.

  • Where can I go to get help if my employer is withholding my OT pay?

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 250,000 people across the nation are employed by the oil and gas industry. Due to the often dangerous work conditions and amount of physical activity involved, these workers make a decent living with pay averaging $40.00 an hour. However, although their base pay is respectable, working conditions commonly require several hours of overtime each week (20 to 40 additional hours isn’t uncommon). Now, as an oil worker these OT hours shouldn’t be all that surprising. However, what is surprising is when OT isn’t paid, and unfortunately this happens a lot.

    Over the course of the past few years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been focusing its attention on the oil and gas industry due to numerous accounts of overtime fraud. An agreement between OSHA and the Employment Standards Administration (ESA) has been set up to help delegate enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act in order to help answer workers’ concerns and investigate potential fraud. Unfortunately, the only way for OSHA and the ESA to receive legitimate information to investigate is by hearing from the employees themselves. However, many workers aren’t aware of their rights, don’t know where to turn, or don’t feel comfortable enough to complain without fear of employer retaliation; causing many incidences of OT fraud go uninvestigated and unpunished.    

    Finding an OSHA Location Near You to Get the Help You Need

    Don’t allow your employer to get away with short-changing your work. You not only deserve better, but you’re lawfully guaranteed payment for all overtime worked. Contact OSHA to leave an anonymous report, or contact one of the following Wage and Hour Division Offices near you to have your employer investigated and your wages returned to you:

    DALLAS DISTRICT OFFICE - District Director: Curtis L. Poer

    U.S. Department of Labor

    Wage & Hour Division

    The Offices @ Brookhollow

    1701 E. Lamar Blvd., Suite 270, Box 22

    Arlington, TX 76006-7303





    HOUSTON DISTRICT OFFICE - District Director: Robin Mallet

    U.S. Department of Labor

    Wage & Hour Division

    8701 S.Gessner Drive, Suite 1164

    Houston, TX 77074-2944





    McALLEN DISTRICT OFFICE - District Director: Eden Ramirez

    U.S. Department of Labor

    Wage & Hour Division

    1101 E Hackberry Ave., Suite 400

    McAllen, TX 78501





    CORPUS CHRISTI AREA OFFICE - Asst. District Director: Vince Leija

    U.S. Department of Labor

    Wage & Hour Division

    Wilson Plaza

    606 W. Carancahua, Suite 705

    Corpus Christi, TX 78401





    SAN ANTONIO DISTRICT OFFICE - District Director: Juan Coria

    U.S. Department of Labor

    Wage & Hour Division

    Northchase 1 Office Building

    10127 Morocco, Suite 140

    San Antonio, TX 78216





    AUSTIN DISTRICT OFFICE - District Director: Nicole Sellers

    U.S. Department of Labor

    Wage & Hour Division

    JJ Pickles Federal Building

    300 East 8th Street, Suite 865

    Austin, TX 78701





    Few things are more frustrating than having to fight for your rightful pay. In an ideal world you should be able to trust that your employer is working as hard for you as you are for him. Unfortunately, we’re not living in an ideal world. In this world, most people—including employers—care more about their own profits than how hard you work. Let us help you send them a message.

    Contact us today for a free consultation and see if you have a case to fight back. Our extensive knowledge with overtime fraud and payment withholdings will not only give you the confidence to file a claim, but will continuously give you the support you deserve to make your case. You deserve your wages, and we want to help you get them.


  • I signed an arbitration agreement when I was hired. Can I still sue my employer for back wages?

    The rules on arbitration clauses have been upturned recently with a new ruling issued by the National Labor Relations Board.

    Many companies include arbitration agreements in employment contracts. These clauses usually mean that any claims you have against your employer must be settled out of court with a third party, not with a judge or jury. You also are not able to bring forth any collective actions.

    But a recent ruling by the NLRB can change that. The NLRB recently stated that these agreements may be invalid and that an employee’s right to join collective action lawsuits against their employer override signed arbitration agreements. Also, employers may be prohibited from having employees sign these agreements in the future.

    If you have a claim against your employer, but you signed an arbitration agreement, you may still be able to bring a claim to court. Contact our employment lawyers for a free case consultation. You can call our office toll-free at: 1-888-449-2068, or send us a confidential contact form.

    Read the full article: New ruling says you can sue your employer, even if you signed an arbitration agreement.

  • I received a letter relating to the Halliburton settlement with the Department of Labor, what should I do next?

    A Businessman Holding a Pen Over a Legal DocumentAccording to the U.S. Department of Labor, oil and gas employer Halliburton illegally compensated over 1,000 of its employees when it misclassified them as being ineligible for overtime wages. The finding comes after an investigation that is part of an ongoing multi-year compliance initiative by the Department of Labor. As a result of the Department’s discoveries, Halliburton has now agreed to settle for approximately $18.5 million.

    5 Steps to Take After News of the Halliburton Settlement

    If you were an employee of Halliburton, you may be wondering how best to proceed. The following are five recommended steps:

    1. Consult with an experienced attorney. While it may be tempting to simply accept the settlement offered with regard to the unpaid wages you rightfully earned, doing so could mean that you receive less than you really deserve. Halliburton has a team of lawyers at its disposal to deal with these claims. It is crucial that you level the playing field by having a professional in your corner.
    2. Assess the amount of unpaid wages that you believe you are owed. If the settlement amount is less than this amount, which it likely is, you may wish to consider how next to proceed.
    3. Gather any documentation relating to the hours that you worked, the pay that you received, and the responsibilities of your job. Many employees are entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, though the exceptions are limited.
    4. Gather any communication between yourself and the company or the company’s attorney relating to the settlement. It is important for your lawyer to understand what has been said to date as it may impact your legal claim.
    5. Determine whether to accept the amount offered to you or pursue legal action against the company. While pursuing legal action may have higher upfront costs, it could potentially result in more money in your pocket when the action is over.

    When you are ready to take action with regard to your wage and hour claim, we are here to help. We encourage you to reach out today for more information at (888) 449-2068.


  • Do truckers get paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week?

    It depends. Some truckers are entitled to overtime pay, whereas others do not receive it. Some of the factors influencing whether or not a company pays a truck driver overtime include:
    • Whether or not the driver is a commercial one;
    • If the trucker drives within the state or across state lines;
    • If the trucker is paid by the mile;
    • If the trucker is an hourly worker;
    • The amount of "down time" the trucker experiences (i.e. being stuck in traffic, sitting at the loading dock, etc.).

    It is important for all truck drivers in the state of Texas to remember, however, that just because you are not receiving overtime pay does not mean that you are not entitled to it.

    As a trucker, the best thing that you can do for yourself and your family is to talk to an experienced overtime wage lawyer in Texas and explain your specific situation to ensure that you are being properly compensated.

    The lawyers at Kennedy Hodges, L.L.P. will not only answer your questions and give you a full evaluation on your claim to overtime at no cost to you, but they also will provide you with a free copy of their book, Ten Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage and Overtime Claim. Simply call 888.449.2068 to be directly connected with an attorney.

  • I recently stopped working for my employer and received severance pay. Can I still make an unpaid wage claim for overtime I never received?

    Yes. Even though you signed a contract to accept severance pay after you ceased working for your employer, you still may be able to file an unpaid wage claim if your employer violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    While severance pay is usually given to those who are laid off or retired, an employer may also extend the pay to those who were fired or voluntarily left the company. Packages usually consist of payment for years of service, unused vacation or sick time, health benefits and 401k payments, but vary from company to company.

    One mistake that many employees make is assuming that their employer's unfair wage practices should go unnoticed or unreprimanded just because the company gave a decent severance package. This is especially true if the severance package is offered as a way to cover up the fact that the employee did not receive overtime or fair wages when they should have.

    Unpaid overtime can accumulate a number of ways, but most often happens when employees are misclassified as exempt from overtime under the FLSA, or not paid for mandatory work times that happen to be off the clock or outside of the office - tasks like attendance to company meetings or travel time between work sites.

    If you are no longer with your company and are receiving severance pay, but still feel you should be compensated for unpaid overtime, contact the Texas overtime lawyers at Kennedy Hodges for more information. In addition to providing you with a free copy of their book, the Ten Biggest Mistakes that Can Hurt Your Wage and Overtime Claim, they will also sit down with you - for free - to evaluate your case and discuss your options. Protect yourself by calling them today at 888.449.2068 or by filling out the online form to schedule your free case evaluation.

  • How should I set up my workweek in order to properly track my OT?

    Does your pay seem small considering the extra time and work you put in at the oil fields? Do you feel as if the more overtime you work, the less you’re getting paid? Your employer may be intentionally withholding or miscalculating your rightful OT pay in direct violation of FLSA rules. Although you should be able to trust your employer to pay you fairly, many industries will do whatever it takes to increase their profits—including stealing from their employees.

    Make sure you’re getting paid for the time you give by making sure21 m,j52n.-310p[ you track your schedule to the “T.”

    Not sure where to start? No problem.

    Tracking Your Hours to Ensure Proper Pay

    According to statistics taken from the United States Department of Labor (DOL), investigations into the Texas oil industry’s disregard for The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), has initiated over one billion dollars in overtime back pay for oil workers over the past two years. The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division is continuing its investigation into the oil industry across the nation, but considering its findings so far, don’t you think you should keep track of your hours, just to make sure you’re getting what you’re truly owed?

    To help you clearly track your normal hours, as well as your OT hours, it is suggested that you create your own hardcopy of your schedule, and update it daily with your start and end times as well as yo+960ur extra hours. Follow the instructions below to create your own trackable schedule:  

    • Make a grid schedule and label the columns with the days of the week, starting with the beginning of the pay week.
    • Label rows for potential start times, your actual shift times, and a row for potential end times.
    • The final two rows should be dedicated to your total daily work hours and your total overtime hours.

    Once you have the grid set up, you can then manually enter and keep track of all of your regular hours per week, as well as any and all overtime you accumulate.

    A tracking example for an overnight schedule (11:00 p.m. – 8:00 a.m. including an hour lunch) with Wednesdays and Saturdays off would look something like this:

    When Your Numbers Don’t Match Up

    As long as you accurately calculate the math—which should be significantly easier if you don’t have an overnight shift—you’ll be able to easily tell how many overtime hours you work each week. This schedule shows 40 hours regular hours and 21 OT.

    Personally tracking your hours is a good practice to get into in order to check your pay. However, what happens when your numbers don’t equal the numbers on your check? Should you just let it go, and assume that your math was wrong? Of course not! You worked for that money, you deserve your pay. If your employer is withholding overtime pay, or you feel that he is misrepresenting your OT hours, contact us today for a free consultation. The FLSA entitles you to fair and accurate overtime wages, don’t allow a miscalculation (accidental or otherwise) to keep you from getting your hard earned money.

    Our extensive knowledge and experience with overtime law can help you understand your rights and make your OT count. Call us today to make your employer pay.

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  • Should I be paid for the overtime hours I spend responding to work calls and emails on a company-provided smartphone?

    Mobile technology, like smartphones and tablets, have put many always-connected workers in a difficult situation. Because they’re always available by phone, text, or email, many end up responding to work demands long after they’ve clocked out for the day—and many are specifically issued mobile devices by their employers. Whether it’s your personal phone or a company-issued device, these “off the clock” hours can be a big problem for employees who are always online and on call. 

    Although some exceptions and exemptions apply, most employees are owed overtime compensation for any hours worked over 40 each week—and all the time you spend performing job duties should count. Even if you are taking calls afterhours or from outside of the office, there’s a good chance that you should be compensated for the time you spend doing work online or on the phone—or, at the very least, that your employer should be tracking these hours to ensure appropriate pay under the law.   

    If you’re unsure if you should be receiving overtime pay for the calls and emails you respond to after your scheduled shift or during rest breaks, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for help at 888-449-2068. Because every case is so different, the best way to get definitive answers is to go over the specific details of your situation with an experienced employment attorney. 

    Did you find this article helpful? Let us know! We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ for more news, tips, and up-to-date information about overtime issues and workers’ rights. 

  • How can I calculate how much overtime pay I’m missing on my checks?

    You’ve worked as a paralegal for about six months. An average day consists of a hectic nine hours at the firm, and then an additional two hours’ worth of answering emails at home. Now, you love the fast paced atmosphere and the fact that you’re constantly learning new things, but since you’re working at least 10 hours a day, five times a week—shouldn’t you be paid overtime (OT)?

    You’ve discussed the matter with your co-workers and they agree that you should be getting OT. They informed you that since you’re paid hourly and aren’t subject to OT exemption, you indeed should be getting overtime pay for overtime worked. In light of this information, you decide to take the matter up with your boss. However, before taking him copies of your paychecks, you want to make sure you’ve calculated the OT pay correctly.

    You have evidence of the times you worked as well as the dates, but how do you figure out the exact amount that you’re owed? 

    Determining OT Rates and Pay

    The United States Department of Labor (DOL), along with the Fair Labor Standards Act guarantees employees who work over 40 hours in a work week, proper overtime (OT) wages. Although some exceptions apply—employee exemptions and broken work weeks—if your regular work week consists of five, eight-hour days, and at any point during that week you work over your eight hours without leaving early any other day, the extra time worked should be paid at an OT rate.

    Determining your OT rate can be confusing since it isn’t the same for everyone. The DOL regulates that OT should be calculated as one and half times your normal pay. However, determining your normal pay can get tricky depending on bonuses, shift premiums, and your regular hourly rate.

    Regular Hourly Rate (RHR)

    If you’re paid a specific hourly rate and nothing more, calculating your OT is relatively simple. All you have to do is first take your regular hourly rate and then multiply that by 1.5 to give you your OT rate. You then subtract 40 from the number of hours that you worked in one week; this will give you your OT hours. Finally, you multiply your OT hours with your OT rate in order to give you your total OT pay for that week.

    Note: you must calculate on a week by week basis, especially if your work week hours vary.

    For example: If your hourly wage is $10.00, and you work 48 hours in one week, your OT pay will be $120.00

                $10.00 (1.5) = $15.00

                48 hours - 40 hours = 8 hours

                8 hours ($15.00) = $120.00

    Therefore, you’re entire check should be $520.00. Which includes your normal pay of $400.00 plus OT of $120.00.

    RHR + Shift Premium

    If you receive production bonuses or shift premiums, you must factor them into your RHR before calculating your OT. For example, if your hourly rate is $10.00 but you receive a shift premium of $1.50, your RHR is actually $11.50. Once you have your actual RHR you can then follow the normal OT formula of RHR which is 1.5 x OT Hours.

    RHR + Bonus

    If you receive a production bonus, then you must divide that bonus by hours worked in order to get your RHR. For example, if your RHR is $10.00, you work 48 hours that week and receive a $15.00 production bonus, your actual RHR is:

                $10.00 (48 hours) + 15.00 = $495.00 total wages

                $495.00 / 40 (normal hours) = Actual RHR of $12.38

    You then use your new RHR in your OT formula to determine your OT pay.

    Getting the Wages You Have Earned

    Once you’ve calculated your rightful overtime pay, you should double check it with your pay stubs. If your checks don’t accurately reflect your calculations, speak to your boss immediately. If he refuses to check up on it, or denies you the overtime pay you deserve, call us for a free consultation. We know the ins and outs of overtime law and we’ll not only make sure your calculations are correct, but we may be able to help you receive the pay your employer doesn’t want you to have. Don’t allow your hard work and time to go unrewarded, call us to make sure you get paid all of what you deserve.

    Did you find this article interesting and helpful? Let us know by liking us on Facebook, or help your coworkers calculate their wages by sharing this page on your social media.


  • As a telemarketer, am I entitled to overtime compensation when I work more than 40 hours per week?

    Working in a call center as a telemarketer is not an easy job. Your position likely requires you to spend long hours on the phones, Telemarketers Working in a Call Centerlogging into computer systems, participating in trainings, completing calls that last longer than their scheduled hours, and completing paperwork. Often, these hours will end up adding up to more than 40 hours per week. Fortunately, many telemarketers are entitled to receive overtime compensation when this occurs.

    6 Tips Every Telemarketer Must Know About Overtime Compensation

    If you are a telemarketer, it is important that you arm yourself with knowledge about your legal rights relating to overtime compensation. The following are six important tips to keep in mind:

    1. The Fair Labor Standards Act dictates that many employees are entitled to overtime compensation when they work more than 40 hours per week.

    2. When overtime compensation applies, the pay rate is time-and-a-half, or 1.5 times the employee’s regular pay rate.

    3. Even if your overtime hours were not authorized by your employer or if it is against company policy, if you work more than 40 hours, you are entitled to overtime compensation.

    4. Some employers may calculate overtime compensation improperly if they take overtime worked during one week and apply it to another week.

    5. Some employers may simply pay the employee the regular rate of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a given week instead of paying those hours at a rate of time-and-a-half.

    6. In particularly egregious violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, some unethical employers may even alter their employees’ timesheets. It is critical for employees to pay close attention to these details in order to ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve.

    Fortunately for telemarketers and other employees who have not received the overtime compensation that they are entitled to may have a claim against their employer for unpaid wages. If you are successful, you may be able to recover two to three years’ worth of compensation. In most cases, your employer will resist having to make this payment. Fortunately, we are here to help. When you are ready to begin learning more about this process, we encourage you to check out our free guide, The 10 Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage & Overtime Claim.