Determining Eligibility for Overtime Pay

Federal and state laws mandate that employers pay many of their workers overtime wages for all time worked in addition to 40 hours in any particular week. Typically, the mandated overtime rate is one-and-a-half times the worker's normal hourly rate. An eligible employee who usually makes $20 per hour, for example, must receive $30 per hour for any time worked beyond the 40-hour benchmark. If you believe you have been wrongly classified as FLSA exempt or denied overtime pay for any other reason, contact the nationwide employment lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center. We represent workers throughout Illinois and across the country in a variety of wage and hour claims, including those related to unpaid overtime. Our Chicago overtime lawyers are dedicated to protecting workers' rights, including the right to earn honest pay for an honest day’s work.

In order to be eligible for overtime pay, a worker must be considered "non-exempt" under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal law that establishes the minimum wage and overtime rate as well as record keeping and other guidelines. Workers classified as "exempt" under the FLSA are not required to be paid overtime.

A wide variety of workers, including those who earn a large portion of their income from tips, are non-exempt under the FLSA and therefore entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked after 40 each week. The smaller category of exempt workers typically includes employees in so-called "white-collar jobs" like lawyers, accountants, doctors, and those in administrative, technology, and outside sales positions. Workers in certain seasonal and domestic service jobs are also exempt.

That said, overtime eligibility depends on the individual worker's specific job responsibilities in a given week, rather than his or her title. Proper classification requires a complex, fact-intensive assessment of an employee's individual skills and responsibilities. As a result, employers often misclassify workers as exempt, denying them the opportunity to earn overtime pay in the process.

An employee who has been improperly classified as exempt under the FLSA has the right to sue his or her employer for back pay and other penalties. These cases often proceed as collective or class actions in which a number of workers sue the same employer. This route allows one single court to decide issues that are common among many employees and gives individual workers the chance to raise claims that might be too costly to pursue alone.

At the Chicago Overtime Law Center, we know that workers do not take the decision to sue their employer lightly. That is why we stand by our clients throughout every stage of the dispute, and look to resolve unpaid overtime matters without resorting to litigation, while remaining prepared to go to court if necessary. It is important to keep in mind that the FLSA also protects workers from retaliatory actions like demotion and firing if they sue their employers for violations of the Act.

The Chicago Overtime Law Center attorneys have decades of combined experience representing workers in overtime disputes related to misclassification and other issues. Our lawyers are dedicated to aggressively protecting clients' rights to the full pay they deserve, and have successfully represented workers in both individual and class actions. Please contact us online or at (312) 869-4095 to arrange a free and confidential consultation with one of our Chicago overtime attorneys.