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Failure to Pay Overtime and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act

The North Carolina Wage and Hour Act is a statute designed to shield employees from abusive employment practices. Among its many protections are provisions relating to overtime pay. Except for certain statutorily exempted types of employees, all workers must be paid overtime at one and a half (1 ½) times their normal hourly rate for every hour worked beyond the typical forty (40) hour week. Being a salaried employee does not automatically exempt you from the statute. If your employer has failed to pay you overtime wages to which you are entitled, you can file a civil suit under the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act. To speak with a Wake County Wage and Hour attorney, call the Raleigh law firm of Maginnis Law at 919.480.8526 or 919.526.0450.

Computing an overtime rate is relatively easy for hourly employees. If you typically earn $8.00 an hour, you are entitled to $12.00 an hour for each hour worked beyond forty (40) hours. So, for example, if you normally work fifty (50) hour weeks and are only paid $8.00 an hour even for the extra ten (10) hours, your employer would owe you $40.00 (10 hours x $4.00 difference) for each week you were not paid overtime. The amount can add up over time.

Many types of salaried employees are exempt for the Wage and Hour Act, including executives and professionals. For those salaried employees who are not exempt, there is some math required for determining overtime pay. Assume a salaried employee works a fifty (50) hour work week and is normally paid $500.00 a week. This means their base salary is $10.00 an hour. Multiplying this by one and a half (1 1/2) yields an overtime rate of $15.00. This means that they’re entitled to an extra $50.00 a week in overtime (10 hours x $5.00 difference).

An important consideration in determining whether to proceed against an employer under a Wage and Hour claim is that you may be entitled to “double damages” and attorney’s fees. If your employer does not prove “good faith” in violating the statute, then you recover double whatever your actual damages are. Assume the salaried employee above was not paid his or her $50.00 of overtime for twenty (20) weeks; this would mean they would have $4,000.00 of actual damages and could recover total $8,000.00 after application of the double damages rule. The employer would also have to pay the employee’s attorney’s fees.

The Wake County employment lawyers of Maginnis Law can assist you in recovering unpaid overtime through the filing of a civil lawsuit. We handle North Carolina Wage and Hour claims on a contingency basis, which means that you do not pay any attorney’s fees unless and until we recover on your behalf. We also offer all consultations for Wage and Hour claims free of charge.

Maginnis Law’s Raleigh employment attorneys regularly assist clients in and around the Triangle, including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Apex, Garner, Wake Forest, Fayetteville, and Greensboro. You may send a confidential email regarding the facts of your unpaid wages case through our contact page or you may contact an employment lawyer directly by calling 919.480.8526 or 919.526.0450.