Earning an hourly wage is hard enough, but sometimes people are asked (or demanded) to work overtime. What’s worse than that? Not being paid for the extra time you spent working. Thankfully the federal government has us covered, and you can thank Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration for that. The Fair Labor Standards Act (or FLSA) has undergone many changes since it was passed by Congress in 1938, but it’s standards offer us some basic protections that everyone should know about. Note that the FLSA sets the minimally acceptable standards for the American workplace. Many states have passed their own laws expanding on the FLSA’s basic protections, and we will briefly discuss what additions, if any, Wyoming and Colorado have made. If you are concerned about your work hours and compensation, this may shed some light as to how the FLSA can help you.

The FLSA’s approach to protecting workers in the United States is to compensate them with their regular hourly rate times one and one-half for overtime work hours. This applies to both wage-earning and salaried workers. Covered employees in Colorado are entitled to one and one-half times regular pay for every hour worked over 40 hours in one week, or 12 hours in one day. In Wyoming, there are no state laws regarding overtime pay. That means in Wyoming, covered employees are only entitled to overtime pay for every hour over 40 hours in one work week, which is the minimum standard under the FLSA.

The FLSA allows an employee to sue their employer for unpaid overtime wages, plus an extra remedy from the court. On top of getting unpaid overtime earnings, the employee may receive liquidated damages matching the unpaid overtime, if the employer cannot prove it acted in “good faith.” These are not punitive damages, but rather they are considered as extra compensation to the wronged employee. The clock is ticking, though. The statute of limitations for the FLSA states that an employee may only collect unpaid overtime earnings from two years before the date the lawsuit is filed. However, if a court thinks the employer’s conduct was willful or in bad faith, it may be extended to three years.

It is important to know that the FLSA doesn’t cover everyone. Some people may not be entitled to overtime compensation because certain types of employers and employees are not covered by the law.

If you have been denied overtime compensation at your job, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Olson Law Firm at (303)588-7297 or contact us online. We are happy to listen and offer you a free consultation.


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