Worked 48 to 50 hrs a week with no overtime pay. How to get my overtime

unemployed_personQ) I worked for a hotel for 4 yrs. Since I started I would work 48 to 50 hrs a week with no overtime pay. There was one month I was putting in 70 to 80 hrs in one week. when I asked my boss if he was going to pay me my overtime he quickly typed up a contract wavering my rights to ask for my OT, and said if I did not sign he would look for someone else to replace me. I had to sign at the moment I was a single mother. I had no paid maternity leave wich I ended up going back to work 2 days after giving birth. Bills wont pay themselves. To top it off in January 2014 my dad was in icu on life support for 3 weeks, I live in Ar and my dad in Tx I told my boss I was leaving for 3 weeks he said it was fine but when I came back he said he thought I didnt want to work anymore so he hired someone else. Ive been out of a job for 2 months. What do I need to do to get my overtime paid to me? Will I qualify for unemployment?

A) It is illegal for your employer to deny you overtime pay if you are eligible for it. You may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division or a state labor agency to recover unpaid overtime. You may also consider seeking legal advice from an employment attorney.

Regarding your eligibility for unemployment, it depends on the reason for your separation from your job. If you were terminated for no fault of your own, such as being laid off due to lack of work, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. However, if you resigned voluntarily, you may not be eligible unless you can show good cause for leaving the job, such as intolerable working conditions. You should contact your state’s unemployment office to determine your eligibility for benefits.

According to the United State Department of Labor:

“The federal overtime provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Unless exempt, employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay. There is no limit in the Act on the number of hours employees aged 16 and older may work in any workweek. The Act does not require overtime pay for work on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days.”

Based on this Federal Provision you are clearly owed overtime pay. I recommend you file a complaint with your state department of labor. You may also consider getting some legal aid to pursue your claim against your past employer for overtime pay.

In regards to your work after pregnancy; The United State Department of Labor also states:

” An employee’s ability to use FMLA leave during pregnancy or after the birth of a child has not changed. Under the regulations, a mother can use 12 weeks of FMLA leave for the birth of a child, for prenatal care and incapacity related to pregnancy, and for her own serious health condition following the birth of a child. A father can use FMLA leave for the birth of a child and to care for his spouse who is incapacitated (due to pregnancy or child birth).”

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