The right to a fair wage is rooted in federal law, and every employer is required to meet certain wage standards if they want to do business lawfully in the United States. For example, with rare exceptions for those in service industry professions where gratuities are standard, almost all employees are entitled to receive at least a minimum hourly wage.
Employees also generally have the right to overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a single workweek. Frequently, employers are eager to get as much work from professionals as they can without paying more, which often means trying to avoid paying overtime wages.
Some workers are exempt from overtime requirements. Others have had companies long treat them as though they were exempt despite having a right to overtime pay. Daily workers fall into that second category, and a recent Supreme Court ruling might pave the way for numerous overtime wage claims from daily workers who have been taken advantage of for far too long.
What did the Supreme Court rule?
Often, wage claims related to overtime involve people who don’t make very competitive salaries. However, a recent case heard by the Supreme Court involved a skilled employee whose take-home pay ended up being more than $200,000 a year.
However, the employment arrangement that led to those wages involved a daily pay rate, not a salary. The worker made more money when they put in more hours, and yet they did not receive overtime pay as they should. The Supreme Court eventually ruled that the variable pay rates that applied to their daily pay calculations scenario made them non-exempt for the purposes of overtime pay.
Others subject to similar payment arrangements might realize that they have gone years without receiving appropriate overtime wages and could be in a position either on their own or with the support of their co-workers to pursue a claim against the company.
Wage claims are often very complex
Exactly how much a worker deserves to make and whether they should receive overtime pay depends on a number of considerations. Someone’s work history, employment contract and numerous other factors, including court precedent, will influence what pay an employee should receive.
Those who believe that their employers may have violated their wage rights can potentially pursue a claim to get their unpaid overtime and possibly change how a company supports other workers in the future. Tracking crucial changes to federal employment laws and standards for wage claims can help those who are questioning whether their income reflects their skill and commitment to their employment.