If you find yourself working overtime, in most cases, your employer should be paying you overtime wages.

Your employer’s failure to pay you overtime wages likely gives you the right to sue your employer, but you should understand some state and federal laws regarding your rights. 

WATCH: The 5 Most Common Ways That Texas Employers Avoid Paying Overtime

Can I Sue My Employer for Not Paying Me Correctly?

Yes, you can sue your employer for other unpaid or improperly paid wages by filing a state or federal claim. In some cases, an employer might classify you as an “independent contractor” to avoid providing you with required employee benefits.

Your employer does not decide whether or not you are an employee, state and federal laws do. An experienced attorney can determine whether your employer misclassified you and can help you recover the employee benefits you are due

Texas Overtime Standards

The general overtime laws in Texas determine how much overtime pay you should receive and under what circumstances you should receive it. 

When Overtime Applies Under Texas Law

Under Texas law, a standard workweek is 40 hours. Your employer must typically give you overtime compensation for any work in excess of 40 hours. 

The Amount of Pay For Overtime Work Under Texas Law 

Generally, your employer must pay you one and one-half times your regular pay rate for any work exceeding 40 hours in a workweek. If you are a salaried employee entitled to overtime pay, you typically calculate your regular pay rate by multiplying your monthly salary by 12 (months), dividing the result by 52 (weeks), and dividing that result by how many hours you are expected to work in a week to earn your full salary. 

Under Texas Law, How Can I Sue My Employer for Not Paying Me Overtime?

If you discover that your employer has not properly paid you overtime according to Texas law, you can file a wage claim against your employer with the Texas Workforce Commission. In a successful claim, you can recover wages you were not paid and your employer may have to pay penalties for a bad faith failure to pay your wages. Generally, you can file your wage claim in person, by mail, by fax, or online

Federal Overtime Standards

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the standard workweek consists of seven consecutive days in which an employee works 40 hours. 

When Overtime Applies Under Federal Law

Generally, if a federal employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek, their employer must pay them overtime wages. 

The Amount of Pay for Overtime Work Under Federal Law

Normally, your employer has to pay you one and one-half times your regular pay rate for any work time that exceeds 40 hours. Your employer does not have to include a bonus in the calculation of your regular pay rate if the bonus is discretionary for your employer. 

Under Federal Law, Can I Sue My Employer for Not Paying Me Overtime?

Yes, you can sue your employer for failing to pay overtime by filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. An experienced employment law attorney can help you get the maximum amount of compensation in your wage claim. 

Overtime Exceptions

Not every employee is entitled to overtime under state and/or federal law. Under Texas law, rights to overtime pay do not apply to (or are limited for):

  • Some union employees;
  • Some employees in petroleum product distribution;
  • Some employees paid on a piece-rate basis; 
  • Some commissioned employees in retail or service;
  • Employees of hospitals and residential care facilities;
  • Some employees in fire protection or law enforcement;
  • Some employees in the auctioning of tobacco;
  • Some employees associated with motor carriers or mass transit;
  • Some public agency employees;
  • Some employees receiving remedial education related to their work; 
  • Some buyers of eggs, dairy, or poultry;
  • Some delivery employees;
  • Agricultural employees (including those who partially engage in livestock auctions);
  • Employees who maintain ditches, canals, reserves, or waterways for agriculture;
  • Some employees who prepare or transport produce;
  • Live-in domestic service employees;
  • Some houseparents in non-profit schools;
  • Employees of motion picture theaters;
  • Some forestry or lumber employees;
  • Some recreational facility or amusement employees;
  • Some criminal investigators;
  • Some employees associated with the processing of cotton, sugar, or sugar beets;
  • Executives;
  • Administrators;
  • Professionals;
  • Computer professionals;
  • Outside sales representatives;
  • Some employees involved with aquatic animals or vegetables;
  • Some employees involved with livestock;
  • Some students, apprentices, learners, messengers, or employees with disabilities who are under special certificates;
  • Some newspaper employees;
  • Some switchboard employees at independent phone companies;
  • Some babysitters; and
  • Some companions for elderly people.

Many of the same overtime exemptions exist under federal law. If you are unsure whether an exemption or limitation applies to your job, you should consult an overtime pay attorney.

Time Limits for Filing an Overtime Claim

You have only 180 days after your wages become due to file a Texas wage claim. You have two years to file a federal wage claim, and you have three years to file a federal claim if your employer willfully withheld your pay. This time can pass quickly, so you should regularly review your paychecks and contact an attorney immediately after any indication of improper payment. 

Contact an Attorney Today to Defend Your Workplace Rights

Your employer needs to pay you properly. The employment attorneys at Wood Edwards LLP., have extensive state and federal experience and know-how to help you obtain just compensation. We are talented, efficient, and here to serve you. Contact us online today, or call us at 214-857-6071 to book a consultation.