You deserve to be paid fairly for your work, including overtime hours.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires that employees, unless specifically exempted—such as managers, certain sales employees and professionals—must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week. The overtime rate must be one-and-one-half times your normal rate of pay. The FLSA also prohibits the overtime requirement from being waived, even by agreement of the employer and employee. Or more simply put, it is illegal for your boss to force or intimidate you into giving up your overtime pay, although a recent Supreme Court decision limited this condition for government employees.
The law does not set any limits on the number of hours workers older than 16 years can work during a week.
The overtime law is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. Your employer can be criminally charged for violating the overtime provisions of the FLSA, and it also is illegal for your employer to fire or discriminate against you for filing a complaint about an FLSA overtime violation.
There is a two-year statute of limitations on recovering back pay, unless the FLSA violation was deliberate and willful, in which case the statute of limitations is three years.
If you think you have been denied overtime pay, you can file a complaint with the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. The complaint may be filed in person, by letter or by telephone, but it also must be made in writing. For information about various wage-and-hour and other workplace problems, visit the Interstate Labor Standards Association website.
Prepared by the AFL-CIO, www.aflcio.org/