When your employer ‘forgets’ to pay overtime

Frank S. Clowney III

Your employer asks you to work overtime because it’s a surprisingly busy week and there is no other way that the company can keep up with demand. You don’t want to work the extra hours, but you do want to stay in their good graces, and you’re happy to earn a bit of extra spending money, so you agree. The week is a bit hectic, but you get through it by thinking about that time-and-a-half pay.

Then your paycheck comes, and you don’t get as much as you calculated. Maybe the overtime pay isn’t on there at all. Maybe you got paid, but just at your normal rate. Either way, it’s not what you thought you were working for.

When you confront your employer, they tell you that they just forgot. You’re skeptical. You think they intentionally did not pay. What should you do?

You have already taken the proper first step. Financial experts warn against forgetting about overtime pay, so it’s clear that this does happen. It may be as simple as asking for the extra money and getting paid right away to make up the difference.

However, that may not be enough. Maybe they promise to pay but never do. Maybe they brush off your questions and never address them again, and it feels like they’re hoping you’ll just give up. Maybe they straight-up tell you that they don’t want to pay you or don’t have the money. When things go this direction, it becomes very important for you to know about all of the legal steps you can take.