FLSA Overview

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, youth employment, and record keeping standards. It affects full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. The majority of employees in the United States are covered by the FLSA. If you believe that your employer has violated your rights under the FLSA, contact the New York and Washington, DC FLSA lawyers at The Elan Law Firm for a free consultation.

What Employees Are Not Covered Under the FLSA?

exempt vs non exempt employee
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The FLSA provides an exemption for both minimum wage and overtime pay for employees employed as a bona fide executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and highly compensated employees. To qualify for exemption, employees must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week. Because the list of exemptions is comprehensive, it is best to review your position description with an FLSA lawyer at The Elan Law Firm to determine your eligibility.

Unpaid Overtime?

The FLSA ensures that employees are subject to a maximum 40-hour workweek. The FLSA defines “overtime” as “time actually worked beyond a prescribed threshold.” Employees that work over 40 hours must receive 1.5 times their “regular rate” of pay for every hour worked in excess of 40 hours. If an employee’s total hours actually worked exceed 40 hours in a work week, then the employee may be entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA. The right to overtime pay under the FLSA cannot be waived by agreement between you and your employer (i.e., your employer cannot force you to sign an agreement waiving your right to overtime pay).

However, there are some classes of employees who are excluded from the FLSA’s overtime protections. For example, certain types of salaried employees, managers, and independent contractors may not be eligible for overtime pay. Some employers try to evade paying overtime and abuse these exclusions by improperly claiming that some or all of their employees are independent contractors or exempt.

unpaid overtime laws
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If your employer violated the FLSA, you may file a lawsuit to recover back pay and an equal amount as “liquidated damages,” plus attorney’s fees and court costs. Generally, a two-year statute of limitations applies to the recovery of back pay. In the case of an employer’s willful violations, a three-year statute of limitations applies. A willful violation occurs when the employer knew its conduct was prohibited by any of the Labor Laws or showed reckless disregard for, or acted with plain indifference to, whether its conduct was prohibited by one or more requirements of the applicable Labor Laws.

FLSA overtime claims may involve:

  • Employers mistakenly treating individuals as “exempt” employees, thus precluding overtime pay;
    Employers failing to compensate an employee for “off the clock” work
    Employers failing to include wage enhancements (e.g., “longevity pay,” “shift differentials,” or “nondiscretionary bonuses”) when calculating an employee’s overtime rate.

Contact an FLSA Lawyer

Most cases involve unique circumstances that require evaluation by lawyers who are experienced in pursuing overtime wage cases. If you believe that your employer has misclassified you as an “exempt” employee or otherwise failed to pay you wages you are entitled to, contact the experienced New York and Washington, DC FLSA lawyers at The Elan Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss your case.