Overtime Attorney for Ohio Wage Cases
Employees are entitled to be paid for the work they do. Unfortunately, employers sometimes fail to pay their employees overtime, minimum wage, or other wages that they are owed. You don’t have to tolerate wage theft by your employer. If you haven’t been paid for your work, contact a Cleveland overtime attorney at Bolek Besser Glesius for help.
Ohio Minimum Wage Attorney
Both Ohio and federal law have standards for minimum wage and overtime pay. The federal law is called the Fair Labor Standards Act, or “FLSA.” Its Ohio counterpart is called the Ohio Minimum Wage Act, or “OMWA.” These laws require employers to pay their hourly employees at least the minimum wage and to pay overtime for most employees at one-and-a-half times the employee’s regular rate. For 2021, the Ohio minimum wage for non-tipped employees is $8.80 an hour.
Not every employer is covered by the FLSA or the OMWA. The FLSA generally does not apply to employers with less than $500,000 in gross annual revenue. Under the OMWA, employers with gross annual revenue below $150,000 generally aren’t covered either. And even if the employer is covered, both Ohio and federal overtime law have many “exemptions” that exclude employees in certain types of jobs from protection.
In short, the wage laws are complicated and technical. Employees who think they might be entitled to unpaid wages shouldn’t guess about their rights. Instead, they should contact a Cleveland overtime attorney for help.
Are salaried employees entitled to overtime?
Because the federal and Ohio wage and hour laws are so complicated, both employees and employers often misunderstand their rights and obligations.
One common mistake is assuming that if an employee is paid a salary, the employee is not entitled to overtime pay. That isn’t necessarily true. Though salaried employees will be exempt in many situations, they aren’t always. In fact, unless one of the exemptions applies, salaried employees are still protected by the FLSA. For example, secretaries are often misclassified because they receive a salary. Yet secretaries are rarely exempt.
Another fairly common example involves “store managers” and “assistant managers.” Employers sometimes assume that putting the word “manager” in a job title means an employee is automatically exempt from overtime pay. Not so. Ohio and federal wage law look at more than just job titles. And many store managers and assistant managers are entitled to overtime pay.
Still, there are exemptions that apply to salaried employees. Two that tend to apply most often are the “executive” and the “administrative” exemptions. The executive exemption applies only if various conditions are met. First, the employee must be paid a salary of at least $684 per week. Second, the employee’s “primary duty” must be managing the business. Third, the employee must regularly direct the work of at least two full-time employees. Finally, the employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations as to significant personnel decisions must be given weight. The administrative exemption is somewhat similar, but requires that the employee’s “primary duty” be office or non-manual work related to management or general business operations. It also requires that the employee’s primary duty involve discretion and independent judgment on important workplace issues.
Are independent contractors entitled to overtime?
Independent contractors aren’t covered by the FLSA. Incorrectly treating employees as “independent contractors” is another common mistake employers make. Some of the more typical victims of this are package delivery drivers, and cable, telephone, or internet installers.
To determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, the Department of Labor evaluates the “economic realities” of the working relationship, basically asking whether the worker is economically dependent on the business of the employer. Among the factors are:
- The extent to which the work is a key part of the business;
- Whether the worker’s skills affect his or her opportunity for profit or loss;
- The investments in facilities and equipment by both sides;
- Whether the worker exercises independent business judgment;
- The permanency of the working relationship;
- The nature and degree of control by the employer over when and how the work is done.
Overtime lawyer representing unpaid interns
Sometimes, employers violate the wage and hour laws by not paying at all. It’s a common misconception that interns need not be paid. But for-profit business must pay their “unpaid” interns unless the internship satisfies the Labor Department’s seven-factor test. Under that test, an internship may be unpaid only if:
- The internship is similar to training that would be given in an educational environment;
- The internship is for the benefit of the intern;
- The intern does not displace regular employees and works under close supervision;
- The employer derives no immediate advantage from the intern, and on occasion its operations may be impeded;
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion; and,
- The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent.
Ohio minimum wage violations for tipped employees
One final misconception worth noting involves failing to properly pay “tipped employees.” A tipped employee is one who customarily and regularly receives more than $30 in tips per month. Sometimes, employers believe that if an employee receives tips, he or she is not entitled to minimum wage. But even if an employee qualifies as a “tipped employee,” the employer must still pay an hourly wage of at least $4.40. If the combination of the employee’s hourly wages and tips does not equal at least the minimum wage, the employer must then make up the difference. If you are a tipped employee and you haven’t been paid minimum wage, talk to an Ohio minimum wage violation attorney.
Protecting employees who complain about overtime or minimum wage violations
The FLSA and Ohio law protect employees who complain of overtime pay or minimum wage violations. Employers may nor retaliate against employees who make such a complaint. Unlawful retaliation takes many forms, including firing, suspension, demotion, cutting hours, harassment, and other negative actions at work. For a more detailed discussion about protection from retaliation, visit our whistleblower and retaliation page.
Damages for overtime and minimum wage violations
If your employer violates the minimum wage or unpaid overtime laws, the employer can’t just “make it right” by simply paying what you were owed in the first place. Under the FLSA and Ohio wage laws, an employer who fails to pay minimum wage may be required to pay up to three times the amount of unpaid wages, in addition to the employee’s attorneys’ fees. If an employer fails to pay overtime, employees can recover up to twice the amount of unpaid overtime (at the time-and-a-half rate), and their attorneys’ fees.
Free consultation from an Ohio overtime attorney
A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. That’s what you are entitled to. Whether or not you support your family paycheck-to-paycheck, you are entitled to be paid for the work you do. If you are facing unpaid wage violations, talk to an Ohio overtime attorney at Bolek Besser Glesius LLC for help getting what you are owed.