Attorneys at Our Firm

Wage and Hour Disputes

Overtime and Wages

You deserve to be paid for your work. If you work through lunch, you are still on the clock, whether or not your employer allows it. If you spend an hour at work preparing to start your shift, you should be paid for that as well.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), you are owed at least a minimum wage for every hour you work and, depending on the circumstances, you may also be entitled to compensation for working overtime. Overtime is any hour worked by a nonexempt employee in excess of 40 hours per week.

Being a salaried employee does not automatically mean that you are exempt from being paid overtime. Our lawyers have helped clients with minimum wage claims, overtime claims, and claims based on employees being unfairly and illegally classified as “exempt” employees to whom overtime is not owed. Even if you have been told you are exempt from receiving overtime, the legal reality may be different based on your job duties.

Overtime and minimum wage cases can be pursued for up to three years after the work was completed and the wages were earned. In some cases, where an employer’s failure to pay wages is considered willful, the employer can be liable for as much as twice the amount originally owed.

If you think you haven’t been compensated for all the time you’ve worked, contact us. You worked hard for those wages and do not want to miss the opportunity to collect what is rightfully yours.

Exempt v. Nonexempt Employees

Many employees are entitled to overtime pay for any hour worked in excess of 40 hours per week; however, not all employees are covered under the FLSA. The employees that are not covered are known as exempt. Frequently, the most complicated aspect of Wage and Hour Law is the legal analysis regarding which employees are (and which employees are not) exempt.

It is critical that you do not simply rely on your employer’s declaration that you are or are not exempt. It is almost always to your employer’s advantage to categorize you as exempt, so your employer often will classify employees who are close to the line or in gray areas as exempt.

Whether you are considered a manager or supervisor, are paid a salary, or are considered an independent contractor, you might still be eligible for overtime under the law.

Nonexempt employees must be paid for every hour that they work. Are you asked to do jobs off the clock? Are you sure? Try to answer some of the questions below:

  • Does your employer adjust your timecard after allowing you to clock in early?
  • Does your employer ask you to finish work after you get home?
  • Does your employer ask you to get ready for work before you clock in with a special uniform or equipment?
  • Do you come in early, stay late, or work through your lunch break without compensation?

Allow us to evaluate your situation and determine whether you are owed just compensation for your work.

Service Industry Concerns and Tipped Employees

If you worked in a tipped industry, you are particularly vulnerable to certain types of abuse under the FLSA.

If you work in a restaurant, bar, or other establishment where you are responsible for a table, it is not legal for your employer to charge you for walk-out tables.

If the restaurant or bar where you work pools tips, managers cannot be part of the tip pool.

Employees must make at least the state minimum wage after their tips are added to the tipped minimum wage. This means that no one in Virginia can make less than $7.25 an hour as a tipped employee. In the District of Columbia, no one can make less than $8.25 an hour as a tipped employee.

All of the above issues are violations of the FLSA and you should contact our lawyers if your employer is engaging in any of these activities.


Your employer cannot retaliate against you for seeking your wages protected by the FLSA, including overtime. Retaliation for actions you’ve taken to seek payment for your work, such as asking for overtime, calling a lawyer, or filing a legal action, are illegal and you might have a valid claim for FLSA retaliation.

Click here to learn about Virginia Wage and Hour Laws

Click here to learn about D.C. Wage Payment Law

Click Here to Learn about D.C. Wage and Hour Law