Industries That Often Violate Laws on Overtime Pay for Workers

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Unpaid Overtime Sep 16, 2021

workers moving pallets of cardboard boxes Federal and state overtime laws apply to workers in a wide variety of industries and occupations. While workers in any industry could be denied overtime pay when they work overtime hours, overtime violations are quite common in certain industries and in certain occupations.

Below, our experienced attorneys discuss some of these industries and occupations and the types of overtime violations that often occur. If you were denied overtime you are entitled under federal law, give us a call today to schedule a free legal consultation. Our firm has recovered millions on behalf of our clients, including those who were victims of wage theft.

Professional Office Workers

These are people who work in places like doctor’s offices, lawyer’s offices or accountant’s offices. These employers often break overtime law by:

  • Paying overtime-eligible employees a salary but not paying time-and-a-half for overtime hours
  • Failing to pay employees for all the hours they work, such as by not paying overtime wages when employees work through lunch or stay late
  • Failing to pay employees for the work they do when they are at home

Retail and Service Industry Employees

There are numerous examples of retail establishments, like department stores, restaurants, bowling alleys, gas stations and appliance repair shops. Businesses can be considered retail or service establishments if 75 percent of the annual dollar volume of sales of goods or services is not for things that are being resold.

Many of the employees at these establishments are eligible for overtime pay. They are only exempt if they meet two criteria:

  • Their regular rate of pay is greater than one and one-half times the minimum wage for every hour worked in a week
  • More than 50 percent of their total earnings in a representative period came from commissions on goods or services

Cable Repairers/Installers

Even though these workers are often treated as independent contractors, they are most likely eligible for overtime. Employees cannot be exempt from overtime laws simply because their pay is reported on IRS Form 1099. These workers often work overtime hours and are not paid for it as they are supposed to be.

Auto Mechanics

Despite the fact they are often not paid at the overtime rate for overtime hours, there is no exemption from overtime laws for these workers. That said, mechanics who work at a dealership may fit a separate overtime exemption.

Construction Workers

Construction employers often break federal laws by doing things like failing to record all the hours worked, such as time employees spend working after their shift. Employers may short hours by using terms like “down time” or “rain delay” to make sure records do not show an employee worked more than 40 hours. Employers might also fail to compensate workers for meal breaks when employees were not relieved of all their duties.

Although this practice is common, banking overtime hours and providing comp time to workers is illegal. This refers to giving an employee paid time off instead of paying him or her for the overtime hours he or she worked.

Food Processing Plant Workers

These employers often skirt the rules by failing to compensate workers for the time they spend putting on and taking off sanitation gear and protective equipment. Although you could say they are doing this before they start working, it is an essential part of their job. Employers must also compensate workers for time spent sanitizing equipment and performing other essential job functions.

Hotel Workers

Sometimes hotels make illegal deductions from workers’ pay for things like shortages in the cash register, uniforms, bad checks and other things. While some hotel workers collect tips, they may still be eligible for overtime and should be paid for overtime hours at the appropriate rate.

Call Center Workers

Sometimes call centers do not compensate workers for time spent preparing to make phone calls, such as time spent waiting for their computer to start, finishing paperwork, or reading emails. It is important to remember that federal law requires employers to pay employees for all hours worked.

Wholesale and Warehouse Workers

There are a variety of violations that occur in this industry, either due to misconceptions about overtime laws or simply intentional violations of these laws. For example, these employers cannot deny overtime pay simply because an employee is paid on salary. There are overtime exemptions, but they must be applied appropriately. Your title or the way you are paid do not automatically make you exempt from overtime.

Workers in this industry may also not be paid for all the time they spend doing their jobs. For example, they may not be paid for time spent finishing paperwork or taking inventory, particularly when these tasks are completed outside of a scheduled shift.

Denied Overtime Pay? Call for Legal Assistance

Employers often look for excuses for not paying overtime wages to workers who work overtime hours. They either think employees do not know the law and will not ask questions, or they assume they can hide what they are doing.

Proving an employer is violating labor laws can be complicated, which is why employees who have been victimized should strongly consider seeking legal representation. At our firm, an initial consultation with an unpaid overtime lawyer is free and comes with no obligation to hire our firm. That means there is no risk in giving us a call to learn how we may be able to assist you. 

Contact our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation if you have been injured by another’s negligence. You may be entitled to compensation.



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