What doI do about unpaid overtime and charges for a supposedly damaged item?

UPDATED: Aug 7, 2011

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What doI do about unpaid overtime and charges for a supposedly damaged item?

I was working for a lumber yard for 2 years. They refused to pay me overtime except even the one time this year they did pay overtime, they shorted me 3 hours. They also have charged me for a damaged product without me signing anything (although I watched them sell the supposed damaged product). Now they’ve fired me because they have a new guy that works for less money. I just want to know what to do about it.

Asked on August 7, 2011 Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) If you are not exempt from overtime (and if you're hourly, you are definitely not exempt), there is an absolute obligation, imposed by law, to pay overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a week. If they did not pay, you could either sue them for all unpaid overtime--every hour you should have received--and/or contact the state labor department and seek if they will take action on your behalf.

2) If you damaged a product, they could sue you for the value (if you don't pay voluntarily), but can't simply take the money out of your pay check--and would have to offset whatever they did get for it.

3) It is legal to fire a more expensive employee for a less expensive one, so long as in the doing, thhey are not discriminating against a race, a religion, disability, sex, or age over 40. (No age-related protection if you're less than 40.)

You may have grounds to recover money. Your best bet may be to consult with an employment attorney to evaluate your rights in more detail.

Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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