Minnesota Overtime and Minimum Wage Violations Lawyers
Do you consistently work over forty hours per week? Does your supervisor make sure you receive compensation for your extra work? Did you know that you are legally entitled to receive additional overtime compensation in Minnesota?
If you are working more than your standard forty hours a week and you are not receiving overtime pay, the attorneys at Heimerl & Lammers may be able to help you receive the pay you are entitled to for the work you have already done. If you feel you may be owed overtime pay because of overtime violations, schedule a consultation with us by calling (612) 294-2200.
Laws That Regulate Overtime Pay
Both the federal government and the Minnesota state government have standards for the number of hours an employee can work before they are required to be paid overtime. These standards apply to all employees, with some exceptions for specific industries and job descriptions. When you are an employee in Minnesota, your employer must follow both federal and Minnesota laws. In most cases, the Minnesota law is stricter and will allow you to obtain more money for the overtime you work.
Under the Minnesota Overtime Law, better known as the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must pay overtime for all hours worked in excess of forty-eight hours per workweek unless certain exemptions apply. The overtime paid must be one-and-one-half times the employee’s regular pay. The Minnesota law only applies to hours actually worked during the workweek. So, if hours are gained for a paid holiday, sick time, or vacation time, these hours will not be used in the equation of the forty-eight hours per workweek required to receive overtime.
Exceptions To The Minnesota Law
There are numerous exceptions to the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act where the employee does not qualify as an employee under the statute and is not entitled to automatic overtime pay. These exceptions include:
- Agricultural Employees
- Seasonal Workers
- Elected Officials
- Emergency Workers (Firefighters, Police Officers)
- Taxicab Drivers
- Religious Leaders (such as priests, ministers, deacons, nuns, or monks)
This list is not intended to be all-inclusive of the exceptions that the Minnesota law explains are exempt from receiving mandatory overtime pay. Other categories may not be on this list. There are also many nuances about the above categories that are not included either. If you are unsure if your employer is required to pay you overtime pay, consult with an employment attorney at Heimerl & Lammers.
Federal laws mandate when and how much employers are required to pay their employees for overtime. The law that governs this is the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. This Act also requires employers to pay employees a required overtime rate of one-and-a-half times their usual hourly rate once they exceed forty hours in one workweek.
Like the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act also has many exemptions for specific categories. These categories are similar to the Minnesota exemptions but may be handled differently. Be sure to consult with an attorney if you are not sure if you qualify as a non-exempt employee or not.
MN Employment Lawyers for Overtime Violations
Federal and state laws require that certain employees receive overtime pay when they work overtime hours. Labor laws aim to ensure that an employee makes at least the minimum wage and proper overtime wage, not a penny less. Not receiving what you are entitled to may amount to an overtime violation, minimum wage violation, or another wage-based issue that results in underpayment or lost wages. Therefore, if you believe that any wage and hour laws have been violated by your employer resulting in damages to you, contact an experienced employment attorney at Heimerl & Lammers to determine how to best proceed.
What If I Am an Independent Contractor?
An independent contractor is an employee who works for the company but works “on contract,” so they are not usually considered an employee of the company. If you are hired as an independent contractor, you are legally obligated to pay more taxes (since the employer does not pay half of them for you as with employees), you may not be entitled to benefits offered by the company, and you are likely not eligible for the mandatory overtime pay.
Employers often use this to their advantage and try to hire as many workers as possible as independent contractors to save them money and allow them to get more work from you without needing to pay you more. In Minnesota, there is no clear definition of an independent contractor. Still, some factors can help you determine if you are indeed an independent contractor or if the company is just classifying you as an independent contractor to save money.
If the worker is an employee:
- The company has the right to control the worker
- The worker is paid on an hourly, weekly, or monthly basis
- The company provides the equipment the worker needs
- The worker receives already agreed upon earnings
- The worker is trained by the company
- The worker is eligible to receive certain benefits, even if the employee doesn’t use them
- There is a long-term or ongoing relationship with the company
If the worker is an independent contractor:
- There is a contract in place that states they are an independent contractor
- The worker can determine how the work gets done
- Pay is based on the particular job
- The worker uses their own tools and equipment
- There is an opportunity to realize profits and losses
- The worker only works for the length of a specific job or project
Suppose you were hired as an independent contractor but think you may actually be an employee, and your company has hired you to prevent paying you overtime and other benefits. In that case, we can help you become classified the correct way. Schedule an appointment with us today by calling (612) 294-2200.
What Is an Overtime Violation?
You have worked a lot of hours, and now you log in to check your bank balance to see your paycheck with the extra overtime on it in your bank account. But, when you log in, your paycheck is the same amount that it usually is when you do not work overtime. Why did that happen?
Has this ever happened to you? Have you worked overtime for your employer in a pinch and expected to be financially rewarded for spending more of your time at work? If you have and your employer has not paid you, you may be able to sue them for an overtime violation.
An overtime violation occurs when your employer either requires you or asks you to work longer than your standard scheduled hours, exceeding forty-eight hours in one working week, and they do not pay you overtime. As described above, overtime pay should equal your standard hourly wage times one-and-one-half. It is the law in Minnesota that employers must pay you this amount for the extra hours you work in a week (unless an exception applies).
What Should You Do if You Have Not Been Paid
What are the next steps you should take after you find out that you’ve not been paid the amount you feel you deserve based on the number of hours you worked? First, you should check with your human resources department or supervisor to ensure that your hours were logged correctly and that there was no technical error in processing your paycheck. If they claim there was no error, and you are not entitled to the extra compensation, ensure that you are not an exempt employee. An exempt employee may fall into the categories explained above. If you still think that you should be paid the extra compensation, contact an attorney to help you through the legal process.
Schedule a consultation with us today, and we can help you determine just how much compensation you are entitled to, based on the amount of overtime you have worked.
Minnesota’s Wage Theft Law
Minnesota recently enacted a new law called the Wage Theft Law. This law became effective July 1, 2019, and it provides workers with greater protections to obtain their overtime compensation from their employers. This law was created to help curb companies from participating in illegal and unethical practices of not paying their employees what they deserve, especially for overtime.
What Is Considered Wage Theft
Based on the law, wage theft occurs when the employer has an intent to defraud their employees and
- Fails to pay the employee their wages, commissions, or earnings at the rate of pay determined by law (required overtime amount), or
- Tells the employee either directly or indirectly that they were paid more than what they were paid, or
- Demands either directly or indirectly that the employee needs to refund the employer a certain amount of their wages, or
- Creates an image that the employee was paid more than they were.
If any of these situations occur, the employee can use the new law to impose criminal penalties against the employer. These penalties include up to twenty years imprisonment, a fine of up to $100,000, or a combination. The penalty depends on the amount of wage theft committed and the severity of the problem.
Other Requirements Employers Must Follow
The new law also outlines other requirements that employers must follow to prevent their employees from bringing a lawsuit against them. These requirements are meant to open communication between the employee and the employer about the wages they are paid and how they are paid. If you suspect that your employer is not following one or more of these guidelines, it may be easier for you to recover your unpaid overtime wages.
Employers have to keep more records of their employees than they used to before the wage theft law. The records employers are required to keep are:
- the name and contact information for each employee,
- rate of pay and amount paid to each employee,
- the hours worked for each day, week, and pay period, and
- the policies given to employees and when they were given and updated.
New employees must also be given a specific set of information such as pay rates, paid time-off information, overtime exemptions, and employment status when they begin work. If any of these items change throughout the course of employment, the employee must be notified. Failure to notify any affected employee may result in criminal penalties or fines.
Employees must also be provided with more information on their earnings statements from their employers. The new laws required that each earnings statement include the hourly rate of pay, how the pay was calculated (hourly, weekly, monthly, etc.), any meals or lodging the employee was entitled to, and the employer’s address and telephone number.
By imposing penalties on employers for not including this information on employee pay stubs, employees can feel more at ease knowing what and how they are getting paid. It also eliminates the guesswork of employees trying to figure out if they were adequately compensated.
Payment Of Wages – Timing
The new law also put into place a deadline for which Minnesota employers must pay their employees. In the Wage Theft law, employers must pay their employees at least once every thirty-one days. It further states that any employee who may be paid a commission must be paid that commission at least once every three months.
If the employer does not follow these new guidelines, they are subject to even stricter penalties than outlined above for the other new sections of the law. The employer may be subject to unlimited penalties after a waiting period of ten days’ notice. There is also a penalty of the average of the employee’s average daily wage if the wage remains unpaid.
This section of the new law ensures employees are paid timely and fairly. If your employer is not following this new law, you may have a claim. We can help you determine if your paycheck is being paid to you in the appropriate timeframes and assist you in ensuring that your employer knows you know and understand your rights.
How The Wage Theft Law Can Help Employees
Minnesota’s new wage theft law can help employees by opening up a door for them to impose criminal penalties against their employers if they are not paid appropriately. The wage theft law also looks to open communication between employers and employees to ensure the employee has notice of changes and what is expected of them in the workplace. Before enacting this law, many Minnesota employers kept their employees in the dark about their policies, rate of pay, and how or when they would be paid. Now, the employee is entitled to know all of this information upfront.
Minnesota Employment Attorneys Stand Ready to Help You
If you are not being paid at least one-and-one-half times your normal hourly wage when you work overtime, we can help you recover your lost overtime pay. If you are unsure how your pay rate is calculated or how you could contest these issues with your employer, we can help. With many experienced employment attorneys ready to help you, we can ensure you are paid the overtime rate you deserve. Do not go another shift not knowing if you are being paid appropriately.
The attorneys at Heimerl & Lammers can help you get the compensation you deserve. If you have questions about how your overtime is paid or are just unsure how it should be calculated, schedule an appointment with us today by calling (612) 294-2200.