“In my Inaugural I laid down the simple proposition that nobody is going to starve in this country. It seems to me to be equally plain that no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By “business” I mean the whole of commerce as well as the whole of industry; by workers I mean all workers, the white collar class as well as the men in overalls; and by living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of decent living.”
– Franklin Roosevelt’s Statement on the National Industrial Recovery Act (16 June 1933)
When Roosevelt won reelection in 1936, he immediately worked to push through legislation to protect America’s laborers. Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) in 1938 in order to protect worker abuse that rampantly occurred during the Industrial Revolution and Great Depression. The Fair Labor Standards Act established the first minimum wage and overtime provisions in United States History. Workers have relied on the law ever since to enforce their rights to fair wages, including overtime pay when they work over 40 hours in a week.
Texas Overtime Law
Texas overtime law is governed by Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, all employees who are not covered by the below described exemptions who work more than 40 hours per work week are typically entitled to receive at least one and one half times their regular rate of pay for the overtime hours.
The Act applies to individual employees who engage in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce in a workweek. [29 U.S.C. Section 206 (a)]. For most businesses to meet the “engaged in commerce requirement,” the employer must have annual revenues of at least $500,000. The Fair Labor Standards Act covers the types of employers regardless of sales volumes:
- Hospitals and other institutions that care for the sick, aged, mentally ill, or disabled
- Educational institutions including preschools, elementary, secondary, and higher education schools
- Local, state, and federal government agencies
Texas Overtime Law: Certain Employees Exempt from Overtime Pay
Most employees are not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act’s exemptions and entitled to overtime pay. Courts liberally interpret the fair Labor Standards Act to accomplish the goal of outlawing from interstate commerce, goods produced under conditions that fall below minimum standards of decency. Alamo Foundation v. Secretary of Labor, 471 U.S. 290 1985. Exemptions, however, do exist that relieve an employer from overtime time pay requirements. Exempt employees must fit squarely into one of the following categories for an exemption:
- Outside sales employees whose primary duty is selling products or services away from the employer’s place of business
- Professional employees paid on a salary basis a minimum of $455 per week and whose work performance requires advanced knowledge, extensive education, innovation, creativity, or talent.
- Administrative employees paid on a salary basis a minimum of $455 per week and whose primary duties involve general business operations
- Executive employees paid on a salary basis a minimum of$455 per week and whose primary responsibilities are managing the company, directing the work of at least two employees, and having the authority to hire and fire employees
- Computer Systems Analysts paid a rate not less than $27.63 per hour and who design, develop, analyze, test, modify, or consult with users about computer systems and programs
- Salespersons engaged in selling cars, trailers, boats or aircraft
Texas Overtime Law: How to Know If You Are an Exempt Employee
The best way to discover your whether you are entitled to overtime is to contact a Dallas Overtime Attorney that handles overtime disputes on a daily basis. Overtime coverage is highly fact intensive and involves application of highly nuanced law. Moreover, overtime eligibility has been litigated and is the subject of many court opinions.
Many employers have failed to properly classify their employees pursuant to overtime law. Please beware that simply because your employer has classified you as exempt does not mean that you are actually exempt from overtime. To determine whether you have been properly classified, you should contact a credentialed Dallas Overtime attorney to discuss your rights.
Texas Overtime Law: Remedies for an Employer’s Overtime Violations
Federal overtime law provides employees whose Fair Labor Standards rights have been violated with the right to sue to enforce those rights in state or federal court. In a cause of action to enforce overtime rights, an employee may be able to recover:
- All back overtime wages
- Liquidated damages in an amount equal to the back pay owed to its employees
- An extension of the statute of limitations to three years instead of two years if the violation was not made in good faith
- Attorneys’ fees
Obviously, there is a lot at stake in overtime pay lawsuits. You can recover wages for up to three years from the time your file an overtime lawsuit. Give us a call for a free consultation to find out if you have thousands of dollars in overtime payments owed to you. If you have a claim, we’ll handle the case on contingency–meaning you won’t pay us a dime unless we win your overtime case.