Chattanooga FLSA Lawyer

Federal and state laws protect employees from discrimination, wage theft, harassment, and other abuses. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) in particular protects workers by setting overtime and minimum wage standards.

While workers have the right to receive a fair wage for their labor, some employers choose to violate the law rather than pay that wage. One of the most common violations is a failure to pay an eligible employee overtime wages.

An employer’s failure to pay overtime wages can significantly impact an employee’s financial situation. This type of wage theft is illegal, but many employers think they can get away with it because the applicable law is complicated.

If your employer refuses to pay you the overtime wages you are entitled to, contact an experienced Chattanooga FLSA lawyer today. As your employment lawyer, our experienced attorneys will use our knowledge and legal skills to fight for the wages you worked for and deserve.

Exempt and Nonexempt Employees

The FLSA helps ensure that employees are paid for the hours they work. However, not every employee is legally entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA. This law sets certain guidelines dictating who is entitled to overtime.

Employees who are entitled to overtime pay are known as nonexempt workers. They are usually eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours during a given week.

Most hourly workers are considered nonexempt, meaning they are generally entitled to overtime pay. Those who are not entitled to overtime under the FLSA are exempt workers. Importantly, neither workers nor their employers can waive nonexempt status. The law decides whether a worker is entitled to overtime. Your employer can not change that.

This means that an employer cannot make an employee give up their right to overtime if that worker is entitled to it under the FLSA. However, some specific jobs are exempt regardless of pay structure, such as outside sales, independent contractors, certain driving jobs like long-haul truck drivers, farm workers, and some administrative positions.

Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay because they generally are managerial employees. Usually, exempt workers are:

  • Paid a salary rather than on an hourly basis
  • Paid $23,600 annually or more. This amount may increase significantly soon.
  • Perform exempt job duties

Are Salaried Employees Exempt?

Even though many salaried employees are considered exempt, some salaried employees are still eligible for overtime. The FLSA determine overtime eligibility based on job duties and other pay-related factors.

You may be entitled to overtime even if your employer pays you a salary instead of hourly. If you do not perform exempt job functions (like hiring, firing, etc.), then you may be entitled to overtime. Just because you are paid a salary does not mean that your employer can require you to work more than 40 hours per week without overtime, to learn more consult with a Chattanooga FLSA attorney today.

Legal Claims for Overtime Pay

When an employer fails to pay an eligible employee their overtime wages, they have broken the law. Workers can file a claim with the Department of Labor seeking their back pay, which is usually calculated at 1.5 times their hourly wage.

Employees also have the right to hire an FLSA attorney to represent their claim. Workers in Chattanooga should contact our Chattanooga FLSA lawyers today right away after an overtime issue occurs. In most cases, workers have only two years to file their claim. If the underpayment has gone on for years, part of the claim is lost with every day that passes.

Suing for Employer Retaliation

Tennessee is an “at-will” state, meaning that employers can fire workers for almost any reason or no reason at all. However, it is against both state and federal law for employers to fire someone because that worker is raising a wage dispute.

Firing someone for demanding the wages they are owed is retaliation. In addition to bringing a legal claim about unpaid wages, a wrongfully terminated employee can sue their boss for retaliation.

Can Victims Recover Unpaid Wages?

If you win your case for unpaid overtime, you may also be able to recover liquidated damages in excess of your lost wages. You may also be entitled to recover your attorneys’ fees. However, we handle all such cases on a contingency basis, so if we don’t win, you don’t have any attorney fees. If you win, we increase your recovery by forcing the employer to pay attorney fees.

Call a Chattanooga Overtime Pay Lawyer

Many companies are prepared to handle employment-related lawsuits, so you should be prepared as well. The best step you can take in your employment claim is to call an experienced Chattanooga FLSA lawyer today.