I am considering pursuing a claim against my employer for unpaid overtime, how does the process work?

Blue Overtime Folder Sitting Next to a CalculatorWhen your employer has not paid you the overtime compensation that you deserve, you may need to pursue legal action to recover the funds that are rightfully yours. Unless you have been through the litigation process in the past, this is likely all new territory. It is important to have a general understanding of what to expect before proceeding.

8 Aspects of the Overtime Legal Claim Process

What should you anticipate happening as you begin the process of trying to recover the unpaid overtime compensation that you deserve? The following is a general guideline:

  1. The first step in the process is to find an attorney. It is important to choose someone who is experienced handling wage and overtime violation cases. He or she can help you decide the best way to proceed. In addition, your attorney will help ensure that you meet all of the deadlines associated with pursuing a claim.

  2. The lawsuit process officially begins when you file a complaint or petition. This makes you the plaintiff in the action, and your employer is the defendant. The defendant will then file an answer wherein they either agree or deny with the legal items raised in your petition or complaint.

  3. One of the next steps in the process is for the parties to meet and outline a schedule of deadlines within the litigation of the case. The court will also issue the deadlines that must be followed. Every case is different; however, a general idea is that cases are set for trial one year after the complaint or petition is filed.

  4. During the discovery process, the parties have the opportunity to ask questions and seek out information. This may be done through oral depositions, document production requests, or written questions known as interrogatories. Discovery takes place after the defendant has filed the answer.

  5. After the discovery process is over, the defendant has an opportunity to file a motion for summary judgment. If the motion is allowed, the case will not proceed to a jury trial. If the judge denies the motion, the case then moves on to the jury trial proceedings.

  6. After the motion for summary judgment is denied, the trial begins. A trial can last days or weeks. The first day of the trial involves choosing the jury members. Once the trial begins, the judge must decide which information is allowed to be used as evidence during the proceedings.

  7. If you win your case, the defendant may file an appeal. To do so, the defendant must write legal briefs to appellate judges. The court can reverse the jury finding or it can reduce the damages that were awarded to the plaintiff.

  8. In some cases, the parties may opt to go to mediation instead of going to trial. Mediation is a process that may allow for a settlement to be reached before litigation occurs. The mediator must listen to both sides, and then meets with each side individually. Each side has an opportunity to offer a settlement or to make a counteroffer. Ideally, an agreement is then reached.

When you are ready to move forward with your overtime claim, we are here to help. We encourage you to check out our many case results to learn more.


Don J. Foty
Connect with me
Don Foty is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.