Overtime Wage Claim Lawyer in Houston

Does Your Employer Owe You Wages? You Might Be Surprised.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires employers to pay time-and-a-half when employees work more than 40 hours in a week. Employers often violate the FLSA by mislabeling employees as “exempt” or by failing to pay for all hours worked.

Houston overtime attorney Dennis Clifford is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization—an honor held by less than one percent of practicing attorneys in Texas.

Common Myths About Overtime Pay


  • Myth: I’m not entitled to overtime pay because I’m paid a salary.
  • Fact: Salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay unless they perform qualifying job duties. You might be surprised to learn your job duties do not qualify for exempt-status—which means you are entitled to overtime pay. For example, inspectors, appraisers, oil-field workers, offshore workers, payroll clerks, and inside-sales professionals are generally entitled to overtime pay.

Day-Rate Employees:

  • Myth: I’m paid a daily rate and my overtime is already included in my daily rate.
  • Fact: If you receive a daily rate, then you are likely entitled to overtime compensation for each hour worked over 40 during the week. Employers cannot avoid this requirement by classifying some of your regular daily hours as “overtime.”

Written Agreements:

  • Myth: I signed a contract agreeing to work for “straight-time pay,” so I’m not entitled to overtime pay.
  • Fact: Companies cannot contract around the federal overtime requirement. If you’re a nonexempt worker, then you are entitled to “time-and-a-half” for all hours worked over 40 in a week. Agreements to work for less than the federally-required overtime rate are illegal and unenforceable.

Independent Contractors:

  • Myth: I’m an independent contractor because the company doesn’t withhold taxes from my paycheck—so I’m not eligible for overtime pay.
  • Fact: Millions of workers are entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, even though they are legally classified as contractors for tax purposes. You can be considered an “employee” entitled to overtime compensation under the FLSA, while still being considered an independent contractor under federal tax law. Remember, companies cannot contract around their overtime-pay requirements by labeling their workers as “contractors.” Even workers who have formed their own LLC’s may be considered overtime-eligible employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Common Myths for Hourly Workers

Training Time:

  • Myth: Training is for my own benefit, so my employer doesn’t have to pay me for the time I spend in training.
  • Fact: Generally, you should be paid for time spent in training required by your employer. Very few exceptions apply. For example, some pre-employment training activities are not compensable under federal law. But once you are hired, most training activities are considered work time and you must be paid accordingly.

Travel Time:

  • Myth: I’m not “working” when I’m on the road, so I shouldn’t be paid for that time.
  • Fact: Your employer generally isn’t required to pay for time spent commuting to and from work each day. However, time spent traveling during the workday is considered work time under federal law.

Pre-Shift Activities:

  • Myth: We come to work early to put on our safety clothing and PPE and to attend our pre-shift meeting, but we shouldn’t get paid for that time because we aren’t clocked in.
  • Fact: Meetings are considered work time under federal law. Therefore, your employer must pay you for all time spent in work-related meetings—even if you aren’t on the clock. Likewise, time spent putting on safety clothing and PPE is generally considered compensable work time under federal law, so you should be paid for that time as well.

Post-Shift Activities:

  • Myth: After we clock out, we spend time taking off our safety clothing and PPE, but we aren’t entitled to pay for that time because we’ve already clocked out.
  • Fact: You are generally entitled to compensation for all time worked—including time spent removing safety clothing and PPE—even if your employer will not allow you to record the time.

Piece Rates:

  • Myth: I’m paid a piece rate for making widgets, so I’m not entitled to overtime pay.
  • Fact: In addition to your piece rate, you should also receive overtime pay for each hour worked over 40 each week. Also, your compensation for the week cannot drop below the federal minimum wage (to determine whether your rate falls below the federal minimum wage, divide your total wages for the week (excluding overtime pay) by your total hours worked for the week).

Mileage Rates:

  • Myth: I’m a truck driver, and I get paid 30 cents per mile, so the Fair Labor Standards Act doesn’t apply to me.
  • Fact: Many truck drivers are exempt from the FLSA’s overtime-pay requirements. However, truck drivers are not exempt from the FLSA’s minimum-wage requirement. If your mileage-rate effectively causes you to receive than less than $7.25 per hour, then your employer is required to make up the difference. To determine whether you have a minimum-wage claim, divide your total wages for the week by your total hours worked for the week. When making this calculation, your “total wages” should not include per diem pay—because your per diem is not considered wages. In addition, you should count all on-duty time as work time.

Automatic Deductions for Meal-Breaks:

  • Myth: My employer is allowed to automatically deduct 30 minutes for my meal break, even when I don’t get to take my full meal break.
  • Fact: Automatic meal-break deductions can result in wage theft. Employers often unfairly assume that their employees have found time in the workday to take a full 30-minute meal break. By automatically deducting 30 minutes each shift, employers may be shortchanging their employees.

Why Choose The Clifford Law Firm, PLLC?

  • Board-Certified

    Dennis Clifford is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

  • High-Level

    Mr. Clifford has represented seven of the Fortune 25 companies.

  • “Super Lawyer”
    Designation by his Peers

    Mr. Clifford has an excellent reputation among his peers in the legal community.

  • Confidential Consultations

    Call us today if you need advice on how to handle an employment matter.