What can I do if my employer documents and pays me for 40 hours a week when I work 50-55?

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2012

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What can I do if my employer documents and pays me for 40 hours a week when I work 50-55?

I started working for this company with an hourly wage about a year ago. Then 5 months ago I moved here from out of state and got put under salary. Late last month they took me off salary and put me under hourly. Even though I work 50+ hours a week they pay me the same as I was getting under salary. They just put 40 hours at a specific hourly wage for every week. Is this legal? Would it be legal for them to lower my hourly wage without reason if I were to say something about it? Hypothetically, if I documented my hours and quit in a few months could I get them to pay me for all the unpaid hours?

Asked on January 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) If you  are an hourly employee, you must be paid for all hours worked. There is no legal justification for only paying you for 40 hours if you work 50 - 55, and doing so is a violation of labor laws.

2) If you are an hourly employee, you must be paid overtime (time-and-a-half) for all hours worked in a workweek past 40; failure to do so is another violation of labor law.

3) You could sue your employer, either now, while still employed or after leaving, for all unpaid hours, plus overtime. The law may even given you additional compensation (e.g. double damages) and/or lawyer fees; also, the law makes it illegal to take action against you for bringing a wage-and-hour complaint.

From what you write, you may wish to consult now with an employment law attorney to explore your options and possible recovery.

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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