What can I do if I work in a restaurant and my last paycheck was missing 15 hours of overtime pay?

I notified my manager and he said he’d look into it. It has been three days and I

have asked a few times since only to get the same answer. What options do I have to take if I do not get paid what I am due? I am a server and overtime pay is only $5.76 but my hourly wage is a good portion of my income since I work about 60 hours a week. How long should I wait before taking legal action? Is the amount of money too small to merit any action? What should I do if it becomes obvious they don’t intend on paying me?

Asked on August 31, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If not paid the missing funds by the next payroll, you probably would take legal action *if* you are going to. You could first contact the state department of labor, which enforces the wage and hour laws, and look to file a complaint for the unpaid overtime--they may be able to help you without you having to file your own lawsuit.
As to whether you should or should not: 15 hours of overtime is 15 x $8.64 on the wage you cite. That would be around $130.00 or so. If that's all that is at stake, it may not be worth initiating a complaint against your employer--for example, while they can't officially retaliate against you for the complaint, it would not be hard for them to reduce your hours or give you worse tables or a less-desirable shift or otherwise "punish" you for what you did in a way that would be difficult for you to take legal action about.


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