Friday, July 27, 2012

Overtime Rules in Pennsylvania

Am I Entitled to Overtime in Pennsylvania?

We have blogged on this topic quite a few times in the past.  Click here for a comprehensive examination on this topic.

We receive a lot of calls on this topic, though, so I thought I would lay out some "Dick and Jane" basic principles today.  Here we go.

If You Punch a Clock, You Get OT
Can I Get Overtime Pay If I am Paid on an Hourly Basis?

*   You are always entitled to overtime in Pennsylvania if you are paid on an hourly basis. 

What is My Overtime Pay Rate?

You Get 1.5x Your Hourly Rate as OT Pay
*    Overtime pay is 1.5 times your hourly rate of pay for each hour over 40 you work in any week.  If the employer simply pays you your normal hourly rate for each hour over 40 that you work in a week, you are not truly receiving overtime pay.

Am I Exempt From Overtime Pay if I am Paid a Salary?

*    You are sometimes entitled to overtime even if you are paid a salary.

Why Would My Employer Pay Me a Salary If I am Entitled to Overtime?

*    Employers often intentionally misclassify employees as salaried workers who are exempt from receiving overtime in order to save money.

Does the Fact that My Company Says I am Exempt From Getting Paid Overtime Make it so?

Exempt? Non-Exempt?
*   No, absolutely NOT.  There are very strict rules that must be followed where classification of employees as exempt or non-exempt from overtime pay is concerned.  These rules have been established by state and federal laws, and by court decisions that have applied these laws to a wide variety of situations.  It is the law, not the employer's designation as to your status, that controls the situation.

I Agreed That I Would Not Get Paid Overtime - is That the End of My Case?

*   No, absolutely NOT.  Just as an employer cannot make that decision, and employee may not either.  Simply stated, an employee may not by his/her agreement or acquiescence give up his/her right to overtime pay.

If I am Being Paid a Salary, How do I Know if I am Entitled to Overtime?

There are "legal tests" that are found in laws that are interpreted by courts that address a wide variety of circumstances.  The law is that everyone is entitled to overtime UNLESS they fit into a certain employment category.  There are a number of ins and outs with regard to exactly how the courts determine whether a given job is exempt or non-exempt.  However, certain principles are clear.

Generally, for what it is worth, you are NOT entitled to overtime ONLY IF:

*   You have a professional/advanced degree or license that you utilize in your job (think: PhD, MD., JD, Masters in Psychology, etc.);
If You Sit Here - You Are Likely Not Getting OT

*   Your are in a job where you have the authority to write up employees, evaluate employee performance and have significant input into whether employees should be hired or fired;

This general test is certainly not perfect, but it does cover a substantial number of people who call our office.

NOTE:  Many salspersons do not get overtime pay even though they should.  Click Here for more. 

NOTE:  Computer programmers/analysts have rights to unemployment under Pennsylvania state law that they do not have under federal law.  Click Here for more.

NOTE:  If you are an "Administrative Assistant" you may very well be entitled to overtime, even though certain types of Administrative Assistants (a relatively small percentage)  are exempt from overtime . 

Can I Be Fired for Demanding Overtime?

*   An employer that files an employee because that employee made a reasonable request for overtime compensation is in violation of state and federal law.  You can sue, and recover not only the overtime you are due, but also the wages you lost as a result of being terminated.

Double Damages Available
Also, if you can prove that the employer willfully violated the law with respect to either failing to pay you overtime or terminating you, you may recover 1.5 the amount of your overtime pay and lost wages.

Further, if you sue your employer over overtime and win, the employer must pay all of your legal fees.

Should I Make an Anonymous Claim for Overtime?

You Lose Protection With Anonymous Tip
*   I do not subscribe to that idea, generally.  In many cases I have encountered, the employer knows who made the complaint, and then targets the suspect for termination on a false basis, such as poor job performance, etc.  Since the complaint was anonymous, the employee cannot assert he/she was fired for making the complaint because it will be virtually impossible to prove that the employer knew who it was that did it, and therefore could not have targeted the anonymous complainant.

How Far Back Can I Go to Collect Overtime Pay?  What is the Statute of Limitations for an Overtime Claim?

Generally, 3 years.  You stop this clock from ticking ONLY by filing a lawsuit.  You may then go back for a 3-year period and collect overtime pay. 

Philadelphia Attorney Prosecuting Overtime Claims Since 1991
Philadelphia Are Employment Attorney Representing Employees

John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents employees in Pennsylvania. 

John typically represents employees who need an employment lawyer in Philadelphia County, Chester County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Berks County, Lancaster County and Montgomery County.

Pennsylvania Employment Attorney Provides Free Telephone Consultations

If you are looking for an employment lawyer, and live in Malvern, Wayne, King of Prussia, Downingtown, Glenside, Doylestown, Radnor, Newtown Square, Exton, Philadelphia, West Chester, Skippack, Langhorne, Haverford, Nether Providence, Broomall, Drexel Hill, Reading or any of their surrounding towns, feel free to send me an e-mail or give me a call.  I am always glad to spend some time with people via a free telephone consultation.

Need an Employment Labor Lawyer Near Philadelphia?

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of employment law, from wrongful termination, to wage and overtime claims, to discrimination and retaliation laws, to Family and Medical Leave

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of Pennsylvania Unemployment Law, from willful misconduct, to voluntary quit, to Referee Hearings, to severance issues

Click Here to e-mail John directly.

Thanks for checking in with us.

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