What doI do about unpaid overtime and charges for a supposedly damaged item?

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What doI do about unpaid overtime and charges for a supposedly damaged item?

I was working for a lumber yard for 2 years. They refused to pay me overtime except even the one time this year they did pay overtime, they shorted me 3 hours. They also have charged me for a damaged product without me signing anything (although I watched them sell the supposed damaged product). Now they’ve fired me because they have a new guy that works for less money. I just want to know what to do about it.

Asked on August 7, 2011 Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If you are not exempt from overtime (and if you're hourly, you are definitely not exempt), there is an absolute obligation, imposed by law, to pay overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a week. If they did not pay, you could either sue them for all unpaid overtime--every hour you should have received--and/or contact the state labor department and seek if they will take action on your behalf.

2) If you damaged a product, they could sue you for the value (if you don't pay voluntarily), but can't simply take the money out of your pay check--and would have to offset whatever they did get for it.

3) It is legal to fire a more expensive employee for a less expensive one, so long as in the doing, thhey are not discriminating against a race, a religion, disability, sex, or age over 40. (No age-related protection if you're less than 40.)

You may have grounds to recover money. Your best bet may be to consult with an employment attorney to evaluate your rights in more detail.

Good luck.


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