Enacted in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) provides workers with a minimum wage and payment of overtime.  Despite being in effect for over 70 years, some employers still fail to pay the minimum wage or overtime to their employees.  However, the FLSA does not entitle all employees to a minimum wage or overtime.  Thus, some employers try to avoid their obligations under the FLSA by improperly categorizing employees as being exceptions to the FLSA. 

The FMLA can be complicated. The FMLA doesn’t cover all employees. The attorneys at Lopez & Wu can help you determine your rights under FMLA. 


What kind of employers must follow the FLSA? 

First, the employer must have a business that engages in trade, business, or movement of goods or money from one state to another.  An employer that produces goods moved from one state to another must also comply with the FLSA. 

Second, the FLSA applies to employers who conduct at least $500,000 in business per year. 

Some employers, such as hospitals; primary schools; secondary schools; colleges and universities; and state, federal, and local agencies, are not covered by the FLSA. 


What is the minimum wage? 

As of July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. 


When must an employer pay me overtime? 

Subject to exceptions, the FLSA requires an employer to pay one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for each hour over 40 hours in a week.  To determine when you are entitled to overtime, you should calculate the number of hours worked according to a seven-day workweek.  If you are not an hourly employee, you may still be entitled to overtime, depending on whether the FLSA categorizes you as a type of “exempt” employee.  


Am I protected by the FLSA? 

FLSA does not protect all workers.  For example, the FLSA does NOT protect the following types of workers: 

  • Independent contractors;

  • Executives;

  • Administrative employees who perform office work related to management or general business operations for an employer’s customers;

  • Employees who exercise discretion and independent judgment with regard to business matters;

  • Professional employees; OR

  • Outside sales employees. 

How do I enforce my FLSA rights? 

If you suspect that your employer has not paid you either the minimum wage or overtime, you may file suit in federal court for unpaid wages.  You must file a lawsuit in court within two years of when the employer violated the FLSA.  If the employer has willfully violated the FLSA, you have three years to file a FLSA lawsuit. However, some states have wage and hour laws that my provide you with more protects than the FLSA.  Please be aware that state deadlines to file court cases may be shorter than FLSA deadlines. 

If you prevail in court, you will receive the unpaid wages, but also liquidated damages equal to the amount of wages owed, and attorneys fees and costs.


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