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Legal Assistance with Overtime and Wage Disputes

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Common Questions About Overtime & Unpaid Wage Claims

RELATED WAGE PAYMENT ISSUES

Q. Can I be forced to take time off instead of being paid overtime?
   
A. You generally cannot be forced to take “comp time” instead of being paid for overtime.
   
Q. Can I agree with my employer that I will work overtime at my regular hourly rate instead of being paid at the normal overtime rate?
   
A. No. It does not matter whether you agree to work at your regular rate instead of your overtime rate – the law does not permit you and your employer to agree to either a wage that is below the minimum wage, or anything other than overtime pay for work in excess of 40 hours per week. You cannot agree to do so voluntarily, or because you want to help your employer out, or because you are grateful for having a job.
   
Q. How do I prove the amount of time that I worked?
   
A. It is the employer’s obligation to maintain accurate and complete records of the time worked by you.
   
Q. What if I did not get permission for the time I worked?
   
A. It generally does not matter – your employer is responsible for knowing when you work and your failure to ask is not a defense for your employer.
   
Q. What if I didn’t report my overtime hours of work?
   
A. As with your failure to ask permission, it probably does not matter. Once again, it is your employer’s obligation to control and document your work. In both cases, your employer has the ability to control the situation if it does not want work to be done. An exception may exist if your failure to report your overtime work or your failure to ask permission means that the employer did not know and had no reason to know that you were performing the work.
   
Q. What if my employer treats me as an "independent contractor?"
   
A. Just because your employer calls you an independent contractor, doesn’t make you one. There are specific legal requirements for determining if someone is an independent contractor. Generally, an independent contractor is someone who sets their own hours and days of work, negotiates their own fees and charges, controls their work product and determines how to get the work done and has their own tools. The easiest examples are your plumber, electrician, repair person, builder, etc.

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