Texas workers are protected under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which provides that most employees are entitled to overtime pay of at least 1.5 times their normal pay when they work more than 40 hours in one week. The Act only covers employees, so it does not apply to partners, independent contractors, or volunteers. It also does not cover small businesses with annual revenues of less than $500,000. The Act also exempts a number of salaried professionals from overtime rules including administrative employees, executives, and highly-skilled employees.
Exemptions from overtime laws are granted solely by law. An employer cannot classify an employee as exempt if they do not meet the Act’s requirements even if the employee signs a contract agreeing to be exempt. When an employee is misclassified, they may be entitled to back pay for unpaid overtime, and the employer may be subject to further action by government regulators.
Employers often miscalculate pay in a number of other ways either to avoid paying overtime, to cut costs, or due to a misunderstanding of the law. An employee cannot be required to perform work-related tasks before clocking in or after clocking out. Travel time between job sites or for other work purposes should be compensated. Overtime pay cannot be avoided by averaging the hours worked in two or more weeks.
The recent oil-boom in Texas has resulted in an increasing number of employers failing to pay overtime. Workers who believe their employer has committed these or other employment law violations can contact Black Law in Houston, Texas to learn more about whether they may be entitled to back pay.