Overtime Collection and Class Actions: The Need for Reform
October 2, 2002Paul DeCamp
In years past, when a recently-terminated employee walked into an attorney’s office to discuss possible legal action against a former employer, the first issue the attorney would usually want to explore was what protected class or classes the client belonged to and what evidence the individual had to support an inference of unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. These days, the initial consultation is at least as likely to focus on how the former employer paid the client and whether there are other employees in the same job category. Of particular interest to the attorney will be whether the client worked, and received premium pay for, overtime.1 Two of the potentially costliest claims that employers face in this area are that employees have been misdesignated as “exempt” from the overtime laws, receiving a salary rather than the required premium hourly compensation, and that employees designated as “non-exempt” and paid on an hourly basis have not been paid for all hours worked, including overtime hours.