Can you recover unpaid overtime from a former employer if you no longer work there?
The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, governs unpaid overtime in Texas. One of the common misconceptions regarding unpaid overtime is that you have to be a current employee to receive overtime pay that was denied to you. This is not true – under the FLSA, you do not have to be a current employee to recover unpaid overtime. Individuals who were terminated or who voluntarily resigned are still entitled to receive unpaid overtime if they were otherwise eligible for overtime pay under the FLSA. This comes with an important caveat, however. Individuals who are terminated are often asked to sign a separation agreement (sometimes also called a “severance agreement”). These agreements typically contain releases that are broad enough to include claims for unpaid overtime. Thus, an individual who signs such a separation agreement must understand that doing so could waive any claims for unpaid overtime, and should consult with an attorney before signing such a separation agreement.
The FLSA’s Statute of Limitations for Unpaid Overtime
Under the FLSA, as a general matter, a two-year statute of limitations applies to the recovery of back pay. In the case of willful violations (i.e. the employer intentionally violated the FLSA by denying overtime pay), a three-year statute of limitations applies. This means that when an employee is terminated, the clock begins to run on his or her unpaid overtime claims. Every day that goes by without filing a lawsuit for unpaid overtime is another day of the former employee’s overtime pay that may be lost. Thus, if you believe you may be entitled to unpaid overtime or have questions about overtime pay, it is imperative that you visit with an employment attorney as soon as possible.
About the Author: I represent individuals in a variety of matters, including employment claims for lost wages. While my office is located in Fort Worth, I am admitted to practice in every state and federal court in Texas, and I am able handle unpaid overtime cases in Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton, Houston, Waco, Austin, San Antonio, and across Texas. If you believe you may be owed unpaid overtime, call me at 817.908.9861 or fill out my contact form for a free evaluation.
Author: Josh Borsellino