When people talk about overtime, what do they mean? In Tennessee, overtime is any work performed by a worker for an employer in excess of forty hours per week. Some states, like California, have provisions where it is on a day to day basis, but not Tennessee. So even if you work 20 hours a day, but only two days per week, in Tennessee this would not qualify you for overtime. If you work 8.5 hours for five days you would be entitled to 2.5 hours of overtime. You need to be a non-exempt employee to be qualified for overtime. Overtime is important because employers are required to pay time and a half for anything considered overtime. Under FLSA (the Fair Labor Standards Act) rules, nothing is really triggered until overtime hits. Overtime is very important in wage and hour cases, because by triggering the FLSA the plaintiff will be entitled to legal fees. If legal fees aren’t involved, it usually is not worth it for an attorney to sue and it will be very difficult to find someone to assist you outside of the Labor Board.
Please note, the parties can always contract to give additional rights and provisions in excess of the FLSA. For example, there is nothing stopping your employer from granting overtime pay for anyone working more than 8 hours per day or at 38.5 hours per week. However, if this is not happening it would be a contract dispute until the 40 hours work week under the FLSA is triggered. Also, it is important to note that the FLSA is a federal law and applies all over the United States, and not just Tennessee, although state labor laws are different.
If you think you are not being paid for overtime as required under the FLSA, you will want to schedule a consultation with an employment lawyer and they will help you determine if you are exempt and if you may be entitled to a claim under the FLSA for unpaid overtime or work.
©Law On Your Schedule, Attorney Morgan Smith, Employee Lawyer, Nashville Tennessee (Middle Tennessee)
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