Overtime Laws in Ohio

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Both Ohio and the federal government have strict overtime laws in place that help to ensure workers are paid for all the time they’ve put in at their jobs. Significantly, these statutes were designed to protect workers from employers taking advantage of them — and offer them a legal remedy if they were not paid the wages to which they’re entitled. If you’re a non-exempt worker, it’s vital to have an understanding of Ohio’s overtime laws and when they apply.

What are the Ohio Overtime Laws?

The Ohio overtime laws closely resemble the provisions in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The law requires employers to pay “time and a half” for any hours worked beyond the first forty hours in a week. Importantly, there is no legal requirement to pay a worker for working more than 8 hours in a day and an employer is not legally required to provide break time.

Overtime is not optional in Ohio. If an employer requires a worker to put in overtime hours, they must do so. Failure to comply can result in an employer disciplining or terminating a worker. This rule can be modified by a prior agreement entered into between the worker and employer — or through collective bargaining.

Can a Worker Take Compensatory Time Instead of Receiving Overtime Pay?

For private employers, the practice of “comp time” or foregoing overtime payment for work over 40 hours in a workweek in exchange for future vacation time in another workweek is unlawful under federal and Ohio law. However, under federal and Ohio overtime laws, some employees of the state or county may be permitted to take “comp time” off instead of receiving overtime pay under certain circumstances.

Who is Exempt from the Overtime Law?

Generally, employees in Ohio who earn $35,568 or less a year are entitled to receive overtime pay. The law also includes tipped employees who work more than 40 hours a week. But it’s essential to understand that not all workers are protected by state and federal overtime pay requirements. Employees in certain industries are considered “exempt” and not entitled to overtime pay under both statutes.

Workers to whom the overtime pay requirements do not apply include the following:

  • Agricultural workers
  • Certain recreational workers
  • Amusement park workers
  • Airline employees
  • Taxi drivers
  • Newspaper delivery workers
  • Railroad employees
  • Employers who bring in less than $150,000 in gross revenue

In addition, there are other types of employees who are exempt from the overtime law, including commissioned salespeople, executives, administrative employees, and highly compensated employees.

What Remedies are Available if Your Employer Has Not Paid You Overtime?

There are many ways an employer may attempt to avoid paying a worker the overtime wages that they rightfully earned. For instance, an employer might misclassify a worker as an independent contractor or as an exempt employee. They might also try to get a worker to perform their job duties off the clock or ask them to work before they have clocked in — or after they’ve clocked out. Other overtime violations can include failing to pay a worker for training or paying them their regular hourly wage for overtime, instead of the legally mandated time and a half.

Workers may have several remedies available to them if their employers failed to pay the full compensation for the time they worked in violation of the overtime laws. First, the matter should be discussed with the employer. If the issue is still not resolved after attempts at settlement have been made, a worker may have the right to file a complaint with the Ohio Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of Labor.

A worker may also be able to file a lawsuit to recover the overtime wages they were wrongfully denied — as well as the costs associated with any penalties, attorneys’ fees, and litigation. Additionally, the Fair Labor Standards Act allows for an award of liquidated damages if it can be established that the employer’s violation was willful. Liquidated damages are also referred to as “double damages” and are equal to the amount of unpaid overtime. A lawsuit to recover unpaid overtime must be commenced within three years from the date of the last violation.

Contact an Experienced Ohio Employment Attorney

The state and federal overtime laws are highly nuanced. If your employer wrongfully withheld your overtime wages, it’s crucial to have an attorney by your side who can assist you with recovering the compensation to which you’re entitled. Located in Westlake and offering skillful representation to clients throughout Ohio, employment law attorney Chris Lalak is dedicated to fighting for the rights of workers who have been wronged by their employers. Contact Lalak LLC today to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation and learn how we can assist you.