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Can a Company Not Pay Overtime in Baton Rouge, LA?

— June 28, 2022

Another trick some employers in Baton Rouge use to avoid paying overtime is to misclassify an employee as ‘independent contractor’.

The state of Louisiana has not enacted any overtime laws, which means that federal laws apply. According to the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), any work performed in excess of 40 hours per week must be paid at time and a half the hourly rate. An employee in the Baton Rouge area receiving the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour should receive $10.08 per hour for any overtime work. 

However, that is not always the case as local employers have been shown to be very creative when it comes to finding ways to avoid paying overtime. Employment laws are incredibly complex and employees can easily be led to believe they are not entitled to get overtime. Sometimes, these situations can go on for years and the best way to stand up for your rights is to seek legal advice from an experienced Baton Rouge employment lawyer. 

Who is exempt from overtime pay in Louisiana?

One of the most common pretexts used by Louisiana employers to cheat workers out of their rightful money is to tell them they are exempt from overtime pay. Many employees make the mistake of accepting this argument at face value, while others understand they are being cheated, but are afraid to say anything for fear they might lose their job.

Under the FLSA, people employed as “bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees” as well as “certain computer employees” may be considered exempt from overtime pay. These are known as ‘white collar’ exemptions. As of January 1, 2020, the Department of Labor introduced new regulations concerning overtime pay. According to the new rule, an employee who makes less than $684 per week must get overtime pay even if they are classified as exempt. Highly compensated employees (HCE) must receive overtime if they make less than $107,432 per year. Employers are allowed to use commissions, non-discretionary bonuses and other forms of financial compensation to meet the HCE designation. 

Sometimes an employer will offer time off in lieu of overtime pay, but an employee cannot be forced to accept that.

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Another trick some employers in Baton Rouge use to avoid paying overtime is to misclassify an employee as ‘independent contractor’. If your employer tells you that it’s best to get in touch with a skilled Louisiana employment lawyer to see if this is indeed the case and what can you do about it if you are being shortchanged. 

How do I get the overtime I’m owed?

If you are not receiving fair pay for your work, you have the right to file a claim against your employer. The statute of limitations for this type of lawsuit is two years, or even three if your employment lawyer can show that your employer acted with willful intent. This means you can recover all the overtime you are owed for the past 2-3 years. At the same time, you may be awarded ‘liquidated damages’ equal to the unpaid overtime, so you basically can get double the money you were initially owed. On top of that, a judge can also award you legal expenses, including your attorney’s fees. 

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