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Overtime scams are a serious problem in the United States, with thousands of honest employees being cheated out of the overtime pay they are legally entitled to every day. Under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), the vast majority of workers in the United States must be paid a minimum of 1.5 times their regular hourly rate (“time-and-a-half”) for every hour worked over 40 hours in a given work week. Unfortunately, unscrupulous employers have developed a number of overtime scams to avoid paying their workers the full overtime pay they have earned. Learn about common overtime scams so that you are able to protect your rights as an employee. If you feel you have been the victim of an overtime scam, we encourage you to contact an experienced overtime pay lawyer.

Common Overtime Scams

In most cases, bosses who fail to properly compensate their employees for overtime hours are simply unaware of or do not understand overtime pay laws. However, there are other employers who use deceptive and illegal tactics to deny their employees the wages they have earned. The overtime lawyers at our firm are aware of many ways bosses employ overtime scams, such as:


While most American workers are entitled to overtime pay, there are some exemptions to overtime pay laws. It is very common for employers to misclassify employees as exempt from overtime pay to which they are entitled. Employers often take advantage of their workers’ lack of knowledge of overtime laws by giving them a title such as “manager” or “supervisor” and claiming that their titles exempt them from overtime pay. In truth, it is an employee’s duties and not his or her title that dictate overtime pay exemptions.

“Off the Clock”

In a very common overtime scam, employers often demand that their employees work “off the clock” after they have worked 40 hours in a week so that they don’t have to pay them for overtime. Some employers even try to blame their employees for this situation, claiming that they should have completed their work more efficiently. A similar overtime scam occurs when employers refuse to pay their employees for legally mandated break time or force employees to clock out when they eat at their desks and work through their legally afforded meal breaks.

Miscalculating Workweeks

Any time a non-exempt employee works more than 40 hours in a work week, that employee must be paid overtime wages. A work week is legally defined as a period of 7 consecutive days, regardless of which day marks the start of the week. Some employers average hours worked over a number of weeks to avoid paying overtime. For example, if an employee works 20 hours in one week and 60 hours the following week, his or her employer may average those hours to reflect 80 hours worked over the course of 2 weeks. Regardless of how many hours a person works in previous or future weeks, he or she must be paid overtime for any hours in excess of a 40 hour work week.


Some bosses require employees to be granted prior approval of overtime hours before they pay them overtime wages. This is not legal, and it is a very common overtime scam

On-Call Work, Meetings, and Taking Work Home

If an employee is “on call” but must be ready to report for work at short notice or is unable to engage in personal tasks during “on call” time, those hours must be reflected as part of the work week. Employees must also be paid overtime wages for time spent in work-related meetings or training if that time takes them over a 40 hour work week. Employers must also count hours worked when an employee takes work home.

Contact an Overtime Scam Lawyer

While the federal minimum wage for overtime hours is 1.5 times an employee’s hourly wage, many states have additional overtime laws and these laws are often very complex.  With offices in Arizona, Utah, and California and helping workers nationwide, the overtime lawyers at Phillips Dayes Law Firm, P.C. are uniquely positioned to assist employees with overtime lawsuit claims.  If you believe you have been the victim of an overtime scam, we encourage you to contact us for a free evaluation of your claim.

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