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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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