If my former employer owes me overtime, can I take legal action?

I completed a 7 week assignment through a staffing company. During those 7 weeks, I filled out my timesheets through the website. The last 2 days of the assignment overtime was offered to all of the employees. Even though I worked 43 hours and 36 minutes, that last week, I mistakenly put in 39.75, so I got paid for that amount. I have sent several e-mails to my staffing company and I even tried contacting the actual company I was working for but I have received no response. It has been 2 weeks.

Asked on December 8, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you actually worked overtime, you should be paid overtime. It's probably not worth taking legal action, however:

1) It may be difficult to prove you worked the extra hours, when you yourself put in the number your pay was  based on--the presumption will be that number was correct, so you likely need more than your bare testimony to the contrary to prove the extra time.

2) You can only recover the actual amount of the underpayment when there was no misconduct by the employer--which there seems to not be, since they used your numbers. It is hard to imagine it is worthwhile suing for 0.25 hours at your regular rate and 3.6 hours at time-and-a-half.

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