What Damages Can I Recover if My Employer Didn’t Pay Me Overtime?

Federal and state laws require employers to pay overtime to eligible employees who work for more than 40 hours a week. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New Jersey Wage and Hour Law, employers in New Jersey are required to pay eligible employees 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for time worked in addition to 40 hours during the workweek. If you work beyond the standard 40 hours a week and your employer fails to pay you overtime, it is crucial that you understand your legal rights. If an employer refuses to pay you your deserved overtime pay, you can file a wage complaint against them and seek damages.

One question many employees ask is what damages they can recover if an employer fails to pay them overtime. If an employer has violated overtime pay laws, you may be entitled to recover several types of damages. The following are the different types of damages available to New Jersey employees who have not been paid overtime;

Unpaid Overtime

The first type of damages you can recover if an employer has not paid you overtime is the actual unpaid overtime wages. When you work for more than 40 hours in a week, your employer is required to pay you 1.5 times your regular hourly pay rate. Therefore, the amount of unpaid overtime pay is calculated by multiplying the number of hours worked over 40 by 1.5 times your usual pay rate. For instance, suppose your regular pay rate is $15.13 per hour. In such a case, your employer is required to pay you $22.695 per hour for overtime work ($15.13 x 1.5). If, for example, you worked for 10 hours in addition to the standard 40 hours in a week and were not paid overtime, you are owed $226.95 in unpaid overtime wages.

Liquidated Damages

In 2019, a new law was enacted in New Jersey that provides additional protections for employees who are denied overtime pay. The New Jersey Wage Theft Act allows employees to recover, on top of unpaid overtime pay, liquidated damages equal to 200% of the overtime owed to them. This amounts to three times the unpaid overtime. Liquidated damages are meant to compensate you for the delay in receiving your rightful compensation. Liquidated damages also serve as a deterrent to wage violations. By rewarding employees with liquidated damages it encourages employers to comply with wage and hour laws.

Attorney Fees

If you file a wage claim against your employer and win, the court may order your employer to cover your attorney fees. Giving workers the right to recover attorney fees is meant to ensure that a worker is not deterred from pursuing legal action because of the fear of the costs involved.

Statute of Limitations for Unpaid Overtime in NJ

While you have the right to file a complaint for unpaid overtime in NJ, there is a time limit for filing your complaint. In NJ, there is a six-year statute of limitations on claims for unpaid overtime. Determining when the statute of limitations clock starts ticking can be tricky sometimes. For this reason, you should consult an attorney.

Contact Us for Legal Help

If your employer has withheld your overtime pay, contact our qualified New Jersey employment lawyer at The Trabosh Law Firm to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.

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