What can I do if I’m not being paid for overtime?

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What can I do if I’m not being paid for overtime?

Upon hiring at my place of employment, it was made clear that the owner will only pay me from 8 am to 5 pm, that he does not pay OT. I work in exotic animal care and, due to the nature of what we do, sometimes the days duties are not completed by 5 pm. There are a couple of days a week that we are regularly held late due to waiting on management to return to our facility after shopping for supplies in order to sort and put items away. Them being late in returning, on those days, not us being behind on our duties, is why we are held late. On those days where we are done but have to stay over because of poor planning on their part, can I leave at my scheduled 5 pm and of day and not get fired? Should the owner be required to pay OT on those days? I know AZ is a right to work state so I fear I have no recourse.

Asked on February 8, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you are an "exempt"--exempt from overtime, that is--employee, they do not need to pay you overtime (for working more than 40 hours per week). If you are not exempt, however, they must pay you.
So, the question is, are you exempt or not?
1) If you are paid on an hourly basis (not an annual salary; an amount calculated based on how many hours you work), you are NOT exempt and you get overtime when working for than 40 hours in a workweek. Hourly employees are essentially never exempt from overtime.
2) If you are paid a salary, you are exempt if--and only if--you meet both a) and b) below:
a) Your salary works out to at least $455/week; and
b) The nature of your job (what you do and your authority) meets at least one of the overtime exemptions which you can find on the U.S. Department of Labor website, like the professional exemption or administrative employee exemption. Look up those exemptions and compare to your job. If you don't meet the terms of at least one, you are not exempt.
If you are exempt (meet both criteria under 2), above) they don't have to pay you overtime no matter how many hours you work. If you are not exempt, when you work more than 40 hours per week (overtime is based on weekly, not daily, hours), you must get overtime for all time past 40 hours. 
If you believe you are or should be non-exempt and paid overtime, contact the state or federal department of labor about filing a complaint.


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