Employee FAQ

Q. I have been working more than 40 hours a week for no additional pay on a regular basis. My bosses tell me I am a manager and am not eligible for overtime pay, even though I spend most of my work time taking care of customers. Is this right?


Q. My co-workers and I were discussing some of the things at work that are unfair, like leave policies, how they set our pay, and verbal abuse from supervisors. I agreed to talk to the manager about our concerns. He told me I was a troublemaker, and shortly afterward I was fired. Should I just forget this job, or is there something I can do about this?


Q. I've been working for the same company for some time. During the past year a medical condition has made me disabled for work. I used up all my leave, and then applied for disability benefits that are provided by an insurance company my employer uses. The insurance company denied me and did not seem to consider my doctor's information. I'm still not clear on what they wanted. Is there anything I can do?
A. Federal law, and similar laws in many states, generally provide that employees are entitled to payment at one and a half times their regular pay for any hours worked beyond forty hours a week. Exemptions from this right to overtime are applied to employees who are considered "executive,"                   "administrative," "professional," certain "computer professionals," or employees who do outside sales work. There are detailed and lengthy tests to apply to the work you do to determine whether you fall into one of these exemptions. How your employer classifies you is not the last word. Unless you do very little production work and have clear and final supervisory authority, you should consult an attorney to determine if you are entitled to the overtime pay that you have not been receiving. If you are entitled to such overtime pay, there may also be penalty payments and payment of your attorney fees due to you.
A. It is not well known that federal labor law protects employees who act together, or "in concert," to address problems with their working conditions. When employees step up in this way, it is illegal for their employer to retaliate against them or against their employee spokesperson. You may be entitled to reinstatement to your former job, back pay for any earnings and benefits you lost since you were terminated, and interest on the back pay. You should consult an attorney to learn how to pursue your claim. Also, what was the nature of the verbal abuse? That could give rise to a separate claim for different and additional damages.
A. When an insurance company denies employee disability benefits, it must provide the employee with a range of specific information about the reasons for the denial and about rights to appeal the denial within the insurance company, usually within sixty days. The denial should be studied carefully and compared to the "plan document" that the insurance company must maintain, which sets out the standards for when benefits are due or when they may be denied. A thorough and appropriate appeal must be filed with the insurance company that addresses any reasons given by the insurance company for the denial. An attorney can assist you with this. If your claim for benefits is still denied after that, you are entitled to have your claim reviewed in federal court. If the court allows the claim, it may also award your attorney fees.

Protecting & Expanding Employee Rights

David R. Levinson, Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 39286
Washington, DC 20016
Phone: (202) 223-3434
Fax: (202) 659-1034
Email: levlaw@gmail.com

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Copyright © 2011 by David R. Levinson. All rights reserved.