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Overtime is when someone works beyond the scope of a normal workweek, which is a standard of 40 hours in the U.S. Working more than 40 hours in a week entitles employees in Ohio to special pay per hour of overtime. Unfortunately, some employers try to save money by incorrectly calculating a worker’s hours, asking employees to work “off the clock” without pay or failing to provide the correct rate of pay for overtime hours worked.
If you believe you are a victim of unpaid overtime in Cleveland, Ohio, contact the attorneys at Scott & Winters Law Firm, LLC to request a free case consultation. Our wage and hour lawyers can help you exercise your rights and demand fair pay for unpaid overtime.
Ohio Revised Code Section 4111.03 states that an employer legally must pay an employee an overtime wage rate of one and one-half times the employee’s normal wage for every hour worked in excess of 40 hours in one workweek. An example is if a worker normally makes $15 per hour, he or she would be entitled to $22.50 per hour for each overtime hour worked.
Time and a half is also the national standard for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This federal law states that covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 hours per week at no less than this rate of pay, with no limit on the number of hours employees may work.
Some employees are exempt from overtime pay in Ohio. If a worker falls into a certain category, an employer is not legally required to pay overtime, regardless of the number of hours worked. This includes employees who receive an annual salary of $107,432 or more, live-in babysitters and caregivers, family members who work for their family-owned businesses, and specific types of professionals who are paid a salary of $684 per week or $35,568 per year.
Tipped employees in Ohio have a different set of rules than non-tipped employees. Employers are permitted to take a tip credit of up to $5.05 per hour from tipped employees. With Ohio’s minimum wage at $10.10 as of 2023, this means an employer can pay a tipped employee as little as $5.05 per hour. This would be the rate for regular, non-overtime hours. Like other types of employees, however, tipped employees are entitled to one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for any hour worked over 40 hours per workweek.
What is unique about tipped employees is that when it comes to overtime wage rates, employers cannot use the amount that has been subtracted the tip credit as the worker’s regular rate of pay. Instead, the employer must use the full minimum wage rate as required by law in Ohio. This means the employer must use $10.10 as the base rate for calculating overtime pay. Only then can the employer subtract the tip credit to determine the overtime wage. Unfortunately, many employers try to get away with using a reduced rate – or not paying overtime at all.
For example, if a waitress worked eight hours of overtime in a pay period, the calculation for her overtime pay would look like this: $10.10 (Ohio’s minimum wage) x 1.5 (time and a half for overtime hours) = $15.15; $15.15-$5.05 (tip credit) = $10.10. Thus, the overtime pay rate required would be $10.10. With eight hours of overtime, the total overtime pay in this example would be $80.80, in addition to regular pay and tips for the period.
Some employers in Ohio try to get away with paying tipped employees incorrectly for overtime work. An employer may use an illegal rounding method to round down overtime hours, for example, or calculate the overtime rate using the wrong equation. Other employers make honest mistakes. Either way, you have rights as a worker. If you believe you are a victim of wage theft in Cleveland, contact an attorney to find out your legal options.
If you suspect that you’re being underpaid for overtime, start documenting the problem and learning your rights. Write down every time that your employer fails to compensate you for work that you did “off the clock,” things you did for work outside of the workplace, time spent putting on or taking off work-related gear or a uniform, time for travel that is related to work, and hours worked over 40 hours per workweek. Make sure you do not fall within one of Ohio’s exemptions. Then, consult with a lawyer about a potential unpaid overtime claim.
Pursuing an unpaid overtime claim in Cleveland requires proof that your boss has been underpaying you. This may include bank statements, wage documents, employment contracts, and timecards. A lawyer can help you gather evidence to prove that you are being underpaid or that your overtime hours have gone unlawfully unpaid. Then, your lawyer can file an overtime wage claim on your behalf to pursue financial reimbursement. You may be entitled to backpay for unpaid wages, plus interest, attorney’s fees, and more.
If you work extra hours in a workweek, you deserve to be fairly compensated for those hours. Both state and federal laws are in place to protect you from being underpaid. If your employer is guilty of withholding overtime or miscalculating what you are owed, you have the right to take legal action to pursue the compensation that you are due.
In Ohio, a wronged worker can sue his or her employer for unpaid overtime. Filing a civil wage and hour claim can result in compensation for all money owed to you by the company for unpaid overtime, as well as pay you for additional expenses, such as inconvenience and legal fees. However, it is important to pursue this compensation right away. In Ohio, a law known as the statute of limitations gives workers no more than two years to file an unpaid overtime claim. If you wait too long and miss your deadline, you will lose the right to take legal action.
Unpaid overtime claims can be complicated. Companies often have legal teams to defend their actions and fight liability. It is important to balance the scales by hiring a lawyer of your own. A lawyer can gather any evidence available to support your wage claims, such as employment records, pay stubs, and timesheets. Then, your lawyer can file the legal paperwork for you to initiate a claim. An attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement with your employer to reach a resolution without going to trial. If a settlement cannot be reached, however, your lawyer will be prepared to go to court on your behalf.
Unpaid overtime can significantly diminish your paychecks. State and federal law both entitle you to a certain amount of money for overtime hours worked. Scott & Winters Law Firm, LLC can review your case for free and let you know if it has merit. If we believe you have grounds for a lawsuit, we can help you file the paperwork, collect evidence and go up against your employer in pursuit of fair compensation. Call (216) 912-2221 today or contact us online if you have questions about wage theft and want to learn more during a free case review in Cleveland.