Unpaid Overtime: The Florida Employee’s Guide To Liquidated Damages Under The Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is one of the most important wage and hour laws. You may be entitled to overtime pay under the federal law. If your employer fails to pay overtime as required by the FLSA, you may be entitled to liquidated damages (double back pay). In this article, you will find an overview of the most important things that employees should know about unpaid overtime, the FLSA, and liquidated damages.
An Overview of the FLSA’s Overtime Regulations
As a starting point, it is important to have a basic understanding of FLSA’s overtime regulations. Here are four specific things to understand about overtime pay:
- Overtime pay is time-and-half a worker’s hourly wage for hourly workers;
- Overtime wages must be paid for eligible workers who put in more than 40 hours in a week;
- Overtime pay should be paid to the employee within their normal paycheck; and
- An employer cannot choose who gets overtime pay—federal law dictates which workers are exempt and which workers are non-exempt from FLSA overtime regulations.
While exempt employees are paid a salary instead of an hourly wage, being paid by salary alone is not enough to disqualify you from receiving overtime. An employee can only be exempted if they are paid a salary of at least $684 per week AND they meet certain other criteria for the qualifying exemption. Each employee’s job duties should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
What is the Statute of Limitations of an FLSA Unpaid Overtime Claim?
Were you denied proper overtime pay in Florida? You should be prepared to initiate your claim as soon as possible. The FLSA has a two year statute of limitations for unpaid overtime claims. Once you file your claim, you can only seek damages for the most recent two years of unpaid overtime.
Note: The FLSA includes an exception to the statute of limitations for willful misconduct by an employer. If you can prove that your employer willfully violated the FLSA’s overtime law, the statute of limitations will extend an additional year to cover three years of unpaid overtime.
Workers Can Seek Full Back Pay and Liquidated Damages
Through an unpaid overtime claim under the FLSA, employees have a right to seek full back pay. This means you can claim the full overtime pay that you should have received. In addition, the FLSA authorizes employees to pursue liquidated damages.
Liquidated damages are essentially a form of penalty damages. The FLSA allows workers who were denied overtime to seek double back pay. Imagine that you were denied $10,000 in overtime over the course of a year. You can seek that full $10,000 (back pay) and an additional $10,000 (liquidated damages).
Liquidated Damages Requires Knowledge, Bad Faith, or Negligence By Employer
Under federal law (29 US Code § 260), there is a good faith exception to liquidated damages for unpaid overtime. If your employer can prove that they were acting in good faith, then they may not be required to pay double damages. However, if you can show knowledge, willfulness, bad faith, or negligence, you will be in a position to recover double back pay for unpaid overtime.
Get Help From an Unpaid Overtime Lawyer in Florida
Employers are required to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If your employer knowingly denied you overtime pay under the law, you may be entitled to liquidated damages. Call an experienced Florida wage and hour lawyer for immediate help with your case.