Claims And Remedies Available To Aggrieved Employees Arising From The Failure To Pay Overtime Pay

by | Mar 22, 2024 | Colorado Employment Law Blog

Employees have potential remedies for unpaid overtime under multiple statutes.  By combining these claims, employees can potentially recover not only the unpaid overtime, but also significant penalties and liquidated damages.

Below, we discuss claims under different statutes that can often be combined to maximize the recovery available to employees. 

A. Employers Must Pay Overtime Under The FLSA And Colorado Comps Orders

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and Colorado COMPS Orders, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay for work past forty hours in a workweek and, under the COMPS Orders, non-exempt employees are also entitled to overtime pay for work past 12 hours a day or within any consecutive 24-hour period.  The overtime rate of pay is 1 ½ times the non-exempt employee’s regular rate of pay.  

B. Unpaid Overtime: Available Claims in Colorado

If an employer fails to pay overtime to a non-exempt employee, the employee may assert claims under the FLSA and applicable COMPS Order.  A prevailing employee may recover the unpaid overtime owed, plus liquidated damages for a willful violation.  Liquidated damages are an amount that equals the pay the employee should have received.  The Employee is also entitled to an award of fees and costs if the Plaintiff prevails in litigation over the wages owed.

C. What Are The Penalties For Unpaid Overtime Under The Various Statutes Covering Colorado Employees.

The potential recovery on an FLSA/COMPS Order overtime claim may be illustrated as follows.  Assume that Employee works 50 hours in a workweek at $10.00 per hour.  Under the FLSA/COMPS Order, Employee would be entitled to 1 ½ times the employee’s regular rate for the last 10 hours.  If the Employee was paid at the regular rate of pay for all 50 hours, then the employee would be entitled to an additional $5.00 per hour (the ½ time rate) for each of the 10 hours, or $50.00 of overtime.  If the violation is found to be willful, the employee would also be entitled to liquidated damages in the amount of $50.00. 

D. Additional Remedies Available For Overtime Violations Through the Colorado Wage Act

Significantly, overtime pay is considered “wages” and “compensation” under the Colorado Wage Act.  As a result, in addition to pursuing FLSA/COMPS Order claims, an employee may also assert Colorado Wage Act claims to recover unpaid overtime. This gives an employee the opportunity to recover Wage Act penalties – in addition to the unpaid overtime and potential liquidated damages under the FLSA.  If an employee prevails on a claim under the Colorado Wage Act, the employee may recover an automatic penalty of two times the amount of unpaid wages or compensation or $1,000, whichever is greater.  For a willful violation, an employee may recover three  times the amount of unpaid wages or $3,000, whichever is greater.  The Employee is also entitled to an award of fees and costs if the Plaintiff prevails in litigation over the wages owed.

E. Illustrating A Potential Recovery Under the FLSA and Colorado COMPS Order Combined with Colorado Wage Act Claims

Going back to the example above, the employee had an overtime claim of $50.00.  The automatic penalty under the Colorado Wage Act would increase the potential recovery by an additional two to three times depending on whether a willful violation of the Wage Act is found.  So if the overtime owed is $50.00, the total recovery, with penalties, under the FLSA and the Colorado Wage Act would range from $200.00 to $250.00 ($100.00 under the FLSA and $100.,00 to $150.00 under the Wage Act.  Thus, the addition of the Colorado Wage Act claim has the potential to significantly increase the potential recovery.

Baird Quinn’s experienced lawyers can help you maximize your potential recovery on overtime claims under Federal and Colorado law.

Making sure that all of the right claims are asserted is significant in maximizing the potential recovery on any kind of claim – including an overtime claim.  Baird Quinn’s overtime lawyers have represented many clients on overtime claims under the FLSA, COMPS Order and Colorado Wage Act.  By asserting all appropriate claims, Baird Quinn’s attorneys can assist you in maximizing your potential recovery for unpaid overtime.  Please feel free to contact Baird Quinn’s overtime attorneys to discuss your potential claims.