Both federal and Texas state laws from the rights of employees to receive overtime pay in certain situations. When someone works more than 40 hours in a given workweek, they typically have the right to receive overtime pay for their work.
Employers would often prefer to avoid paying overtime wages when possible because they amount to at least 150% of someone’s standard hourly wages. The only way to avoid responsibility for overtime pay is to pay a worker well enough and make their job secure enough to exempt them from overtime pay requirements. Otherwise, companies must carefully limit them to less than 40 hours each week.
Unfortunately, some companies attempt to abuse the system put in place to protect workers and try to avoid their overtime obligations through manipulative and potentially illegal tactics. These are some of the primary ways that some companies try to avoid overtime pay obligations.
Businesses sometimes make their workers fill out tax paperwork as though they were independent contractors. At the same time, the company will treat those workers like employees. Claiming a worker is an independent contractor is one tactic to avoid overtime pay responsibilities, as well as other obligations like workers’ compensation coverage and unemployment protection.
Enforcing a no-overtime policy
Some businesses establish a no-overtime policy as a way to control payroll expenses. Such policies are totally legal so long as the business does not allow workers to put in more than 40 hours. If a worker performs labor beyond the standard 40-hour workweek, they deserve overtime pay regardless of the company’s internal policies. Employers will sometimes lie to workers to convince them they have no right to claim overtime pay because they failed to get pre-approval or written approval for their extra work. If the worker puts in the time, they deserve full payment for it.
Requiring workers to perform unpaid job tasks
A surprising number of companies try to trick hourly workers into performing certain job responsibilities while off the clock. Requiring that someone do prep work or cleaning before their shift begins or after they clock out is a common form of wage theft that can help companies shave dozens of hours of overtime off of a worker’s paycheck over the course of a year.
There are numerous other strategies that businesses may utilize in an attempt to intentionally underpay employees. Being able to recognize those abusive employment practices can help workers stand up for themselves and demand the wages they deserve.