What to do regarding hours that I worked when I was formerly being paid salary and my comp time?

When I started with the company, I was offered salary pay with comp time over 40 hours. I acquired 478 hours of comp time in 11 months not by choice. At 11 months, after me telling them several times it’s not right what they are doing to me with working so many hours, they put me on hourly. I asked what they were going to do about the 478 hours that I worked in overtime and I was told I didn’t have anything in writing. For the past 10 months I’ve been trying to get the company to make it right with me. I’ve been told I can take it to court but I was trying to avoid that route. All my hours are documented because I fill out daily reports for the hours I work. All my check stubs are 40 hours at X amount, always the same. My job titles are crane operator, mechanic, truck driver and safety leader. All out in the field with no office work.

Asked on September 28, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your company owes you the comp time--they have to let you take that many hours as comp time with pay. When you did the work that earned you the comp time, you did it pursuant to an agreement--even if it was only an oral or unwritten one (oral agreements are enforceable)--according to which if you worked beyond 40 hours, you would earn comp time. Since you did the work, they are not obligated to follow-through with their part of the agreement and let you have/use the time.
Alternately, you may be entitled to overtime instead of the comp time--even for the time you were salaried. Salaried employees are only exempt from overtime if their job duties, responsibilities, and authority meet one or more of the tests or criteria for exemption, like the "executive" (which should really be called the "managerial" exemption, because it applies to non-executive managers), the administrative employee exemption, the professional exemption, etc. Salaried employees who not meet at least one test get an overtime premium (extra pay) when they work more than 40 hours per week--and they cannot give up that right in exchange for comp time outside of a few narrow exceptions involving union contracts or certain government employees. The job titles you cite suggest that you may not have been exempt. Therefore, you may be entitled to pay at an overtime rate for the hours you worked.
You should consult in person with an employment law attorney--it may be well worth your while to explore you options with one.


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