We’re trial lawyers. Our core competency – above everything else – is trying cases to juries. And we specialize in beating giants.
UNPAID OVERTIME WAGES
The Law on Unpaid Overtime in Minnesota.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA) mandate that employers pay employees time and a half for overtime worked.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act says that employers need to pay employees time and half for all hours over 40 that they work in a week.
The Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act says that employers need to pay Minnesota employees time and half for all hours over 48 that they work in a week.
You’re entitled to the protection of both federal and state overtime law. So if your employer isn’t paying you overtime for hours over 40, then you’ve got an overtime claim against your employer.
Sometimes these claims are easy to spot, like when your employer is just paying regular time even for hours worked over 40.
But you may also have overtime claims in cases of off the clock work. If your employer is making you work off the clock, and your off the clock time combines with your on the clock time to bring you over 40 hours in a week, then your employer owes you overtime for those hours. Off the clock time includes when your employer tells you to:
- Be at work at least 10 minutes before the start of your shift, but don’t punch in until your shift starts;
- Put on certain equipment or your uniform before punching in – these are called “donning” claims;
- Take off your equipment or uniform while off the clock – these are called “doffing claims;
- Continue working off the clock at the end of your shift if you didn’t meet your performance goals for the day; or
- Tell you to come in on a weekend or early morning and work off the clock to meet performance goals.
If your employer made you work off the clock, then you may have an overtime claim. To understand whether you have a claim, take the number of hours that you actually worked in a week (not just the hours that you were paid for). If that number is greater than 40, then you likely have an unpaid overtime claim.
It’s true that certain jobs are considered “exempt” from overtime rules – that means that employers don’t need to pay overtime to “exempt” employees who work over 40 hours. Jobs exempt from overtime pay include:
- Employees of certain seasonal amusement or recreational establishments (think: State Fair or carnivals);
- Employees of certain small newspapers;
- Farm workers employed on small farms;
- Highly compensated employees who do office work (or other non-manual work) and make $100,000 or more each year;
- Auto, truck, or farm salespersons and mechanics;
- Railroad and airline employees, taxi drivers, and certain employees of motor carriers; and
- “White collar” employees who perform management, administrative, or executive duties.
But employers often misclassify employees as salaried or exempt when they shouldn’t. For example, some employers try to classify secretaries as exempt because they perform administrative work. But for the administrative exception to apply, the employee’s primary duty must include the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance – most secretaries wouldn’t meet that test and therefore qualify for overtime pay.
If your employer misclassified you as a salaried employee or exempt employee, then you likely have a good overtime claim, because your employer owes you time and a half for all hours that you worked over 40.
To calculate your hourly rate, take your weekly salary and divide it by 40 – that’s your rate. Your employer owes you time and half of that amount for all hours that you worked over 40.
Your employer is required by state and federal law to keep accurate records of all hours that you worked.
But, of course, sometimes employers don’t comply with the law, especially if they’re making employees work off the clock.
Of course it is fantastic evidence if you keep records of the hours that you worked off the clock – the more detailed the better. If you can, keep a diary with the date, time you started work, and the time you ended. That is very powerful evidence in a minimum wage or overtime case.
However, the law recognizes that most employees can’t do that and places the burden on employers to keep accurate records of hours worked by employees. Therefore, when an employee can show that an employer’s records are not accurate – by testifying that employees had to work off the clock – then the law allows employees to estimate the amount of time they worked off the clock in their testimony and submit that to the jury.
For minimum wage and overtime claims, you can get the actual amount that you’re owed in minimum wage and overtime, plus an equal amount as liquidated damages. So you basically get twice the amount of actual damages that you’re owed. Additionally, your employer will be required to pay your attorney fees and costs of litigation, plus interest on the amount of wages it owed you.
There’s not really an “average” type of case – the value of each case depends on its own facts. Some of the factors it depends on are:
- How strong is liability? E.g, Can we prove that your employer broke the law?
- How strong are damages? How much unpaid overtime did you work? Are there other employees who were also shorted overtime?
- Collectability. Is your employer a large corporation with the capacity to pay a large judgment?
We represented “Michelle” and 24 of her peers in a case against Regency Beauty Institute. Michelle and her coworkers worked for Regency as Admissions Representatives – essentially a “call center” type position that required them to call prospective students all day, inform them about Regency, and encourage them to seek admission. Though Michelle and her coworkers regularly worked 45-55 hours per week, Regency paid them all on a salary basis to avoid paying overtime. Madia Law won collective class certification of the suit pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which allowed 24 of Michelle’s fellow coworkers to join the suit. After over a year of discovery, the parties settled the case for an average recovery of approximately $8,500 to each plaintiff.
The Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that employers pay non-exempt employees at least minimum wage for all hours worked, and time and a half for all hours worked over 40 per week. It also allows employees to proceed collectively against their employer to recover their wages. The Fair Labor Standards Act absolutely prohibits “off the clock” work – if your employer requires you to work “off the clock” or perform any work without pay, then you may have a claim. The Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act supplements the federal protections offered by the Fair Labor Standards Act to guarantee protections to Minnesota employees regarding overtime pay, minimum wage, and unlawful deductions.
Under both state and federal law, the statute of limitations for unpaid overtime and minimum wage claims is 2 years; and 3 years if we can prove willfulness by your employer. That basically means we need to show that your employer was reckless in disregarding the law – then we can go back 3 years for your damages.
No. The Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act both contain anti-retaliation provisions. If your employer terminates you for making a report or complaint of unfair or improper pay practices, then you’ve got a retaliation case in addition to your unpaid overtime case.
First of all, we’re sorry that you’re in this position. We know how hard you work, and you deserve to be paid for all of the hard work you do for your employer.
Second, call us for a free consultation to talk about your case.
Contact Our Minneapolis and St. Paul Unpaid Overtime Lawyers for a Free Consultation.
All consultations are free. During your consultation, we’ll discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case, the potential value of your case (e.g. how much your case is worth), and the best way to proceed.
The process for a free consultation with our employment lawyers is pretty simple. First, call our firm. You’ll talk to a clerk for about 5-10 minutes. They’ll get some basic information about you and your case.
About 3 or 4 hours later, you’ll get a call from us. If you’ve got a case that’s a little outside our wheelhouse, then we’ll will call you and give you a referral for an attorney that we think is better suited to handle your case. Our number one goal is to make sure you get the best representation possible for your particular matter – if that’s not us, we’ll tell you immediately and get you to someone else that we trust.
If we think that we can help you, then someone will call you and set an appointment for you to talk to one of our employment lawyers. We’ll call you at time that works for you and discuss your case and give you our honest assessment of its strengths, weaknesses, and value. We’ll then set a time where you can come to our office and meet your employment lawyer personally – at that time, we’ll discuss your case in more detail, sign a contingency fee retainer agreement, and talk about the process of moving forward with your case.
THE MADIA LAW WAY
We have a process that works in getting exceptional results for our clients.
We are trial lawyers who prepare every case for trial from Day 1. Investigation and legal research are the first things we do, and we spend a lot of time on them. Because we haven’t filed the case yet, we have complete control – the defendant has no say and we want to use this time wisely. We interview witnesses that can help us prove the case. We’ll ask you for all relevant documents in your possession and review those carefully as well. We also will spend some time conducting legal research about unique issues in the case. We pull the jury instructions that the judge will ultimately charge the jury with after closing arguments at trial.
Our next step is typically to send a demand letter to the defendant. In the letter, we thoroughly lay out: the facts surrounding the defendant’s misconduct; the applicable law (including statutory and case citations) that make clear that the defendant broke the law; an analysis of your damages and the defendant’s monetary exposure; a demand for a monetary amount to settle the claim; and an instruction to preserve all relevant evidence, including electronic evidence. The point of this letter is to give the defendant a chance to do the right thing and pay a fair amount before litigation, and to give the defendant an opportunity to present any defenses or evidence it wants us to consider before moving forward. Sometimes we skip the demand letter if there are strategic reasons to move straight to filing, but we typically give defendants a chance to do the right thing.
If early negotiations fail, great – we file a Complaint and serve the defendant with it. A Complaint is a legal document that states the facts of what happened and alleges how the defendant broke the law. It formally starts the lawsuit. Many lawyers draft complaints in a general and relatively vague way, just to get it done and filed – because that’s all that’s really required. We take a different view. We view the Complaint as our first chance to tell your story to the judge, and we take it seriously. So we draft detailed complaints and include legal citations to statutory and judicial authority on unique points. Sometimes we’ll include a number of exhibits, diagrams, or other demonstrative aids to help the Court understand our claims. A secondary benefit of this approach is that defense lawyers reading the Complaint can become educated on the problems of their case and the state of the law – sometimes this leads them to reach out to us shortly after service of the Complaint to re-initiate settlement negotiations. Of course, by that time, the price for settlement has gone up.
Some lawyers view written discovery as a necessary evil – something to get done and out of the way before depositions. Not us. Written discovery is a gift and an opportunity. We spend a great deal of time crafting requests for documents and interrogatories (questions for the defendant to answer in writing) that are specific, detailed, and tailored to get what we need to prove our case. Many lawyers – even great ones – think written discovery is a waste of time because defense lawyers typically answer them on behalf of their clients and can try to stonewall with legalese and objections. We view this as a wonderful opportunity. In our experience, most defense lawyers can’t help themselves when answering discovery: they over-state their defenses and make assertions that their clients will not be able to support in testimony. So we get to commit the defendant to defenses that they can’t back up, leading to contradictions, confusion, and chaos in their depositions later on. We also use Requests for Admission – which many lawyers don’t. The Federal Rules and Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure allow us to ask defendants to “admit” certain facts. We send them RFAs that are very difficult for them to deny. Of course, they do it anyway, but that sets them up later for cost and fee-shifting, which the Rules mandate for defendants that deny RFAs that are later proven true. And usually, we can get the defendants’ own witnesses to admit facts that their defense lawyers denied in RFA. That’s a great situation that leads to more chaos and confusion on the defense side.
One last point on written discovery – we send multiple waves of it throughout discovery. We typically send 3 or 4 sets of written discovery requests to defendants throughout discovery. This compounds the problems for them, because the defense lawyers continue to overstate their defenses, but now run into contradictions from not just the defendant witnesses’ deposition testimony, but also their own previous discovery responses. This makes for a great record that we can present to the judge at dispositive motions, and use for impeachment at trial.
This is our chance to question relevant witnesses, on the record with a court reporter (we typically videotape important depositions as well). We get to confront the defense witnesses with all of the evidence we’ve developed through written discovery and document production. By this time, the defendant put its witnesses in an impossible position through its written defenses, which are often untrue and indefensible. So the witness has to either lie to support the defense, or admit it’s not true. That’s a dilemma that works for our clients either way, no matter which option the witness takes. We use depositions to expose contradictions, create a record for dispositive motions, lock witnesses into their stories so that we can impeach them later at trial, and sometimes, to show defense lawyers how hopeless their case is. We often calls from defense counsel shortly after depositions of their clients, seeking to re-start settlement negotiations.
The defendant will usually make a motion for summary judgment after discovery, asking the Court to throw out the case without having a jury trial. Because we’ve hit discovery so hard – both through written discovery and depositions – this is a tough motion for defense counsel to write in our cases. We draft our response for the Court and now get to bring everything together: the admissions, contradictions, nonsense, and obvious fact disputes that we’ve uncovered through discovery. We tell a compelling story that wraps everything together for the Court and makes clear that the defense motion has to be denied, and the defendant needs to face a jury for its conduct.
Sometimes, we’ll even make an affirmative motion for summary judgment, asking the Court to grant judgment in favor of our client without a trial. These motions are generally rare for plaintiffs to make, because the defendant can usually point to some fact dispute on its intent or some other factor that necessitates a trial. But we make affirmative summary judgment motions significantly more than is typical for plaintiffs, and that’s because the work we put in during discovery helps build a fantastic record to do so.
After the Court denies the defense motion for summary judgment, the defendant has only 2 options: 1) do the right thing and pay you a fair amount to our client to settle your claim (usually much, much more at this point than the defendant could have paid at the beginning of the case to settle); or 2) face a jury for its conduct and risk an enormous verdict. This is the dilemma that we have been creating and forcing the defendant into for the entire case. We’ll engage in settlement negotiations at this point from a position of extreme strength, mainly because most defendants are (rightly) terrified of facing a jury to defend their conduct.
This is, candidly, our favorite part of the case – why we went to law school: to hold the powerful accountable before juries. We prepare heavily for trial, including: detailed witness preparation, focus groups, and mock trials. At this point, the potential outcomes and consequences for the defendant are much more severe than if it simply did the right thing at the beginning of the case and paid a fair amount to compensate our client for its misconduct. As we advocate to the jury for our client, we’re also mindful of protecting the record so that defendants will be unsuccessful in attacking the verdict in post-trial motions or appeal.
What Our Clients Say
Madia Law delivers!
Competence, I demand competence. Ashwin and Zane digested all the elements of my case, a complex case with a plethora of moving parts yet distilled it down to its essence. Don't be a victim, stand strong, keep your nose clean and give Sara a call at Madia Law.
If you’re reading this, it’s awful that you are in a position right now where you are online searching for an attorney. I searched online as you are perhaps doing now, read some reviews and settled on an attorney after doing some research. I’ll never forget how blown away I was after my first meeting with Ashwin Madia. I was fortunate to have this man represent me. . I am eternally grateful.
No need to search any longer. You’ve found the right lawyer.
I was referred to Ashwin Madia when it became evident that my case was going to jury trial. He is definitely an expert as a trial lawyer. I found him to be very straightforward, no nonsense, a clear communicator, and I was pleased with the outcome he brought at trial. I would recommend him, and I would go to him again to represent me if the need ever arises.
I would encourage you to spend some time reading Mr. Madia's impressive bio. If that doesn't have you convinced, I will tell you that as someone who spent over 19 years in law enforcement, I have never seen a better trial lawyer than Ashwin. His passion, expertise, ethical commitment, and his incredible memory of the facts, were some of the major reasons I prevailed in my discrimination lawsuit against my employer.Thanks again!
I was referred to Ashwin Madia by a friend, who is also a lawyer. Mr. Madia and his partners dove into my case and prepared for trial in three weeks. Madia Law Firm markets itself as a "trial" driven law firm, and it did not disappoint. Mr. Madia overwhelmed opposing counsel, and after 5 days of trial, the jury ruled in my favor.
My wife, who has been a trial attorney for over 20 years, described Madia's trial work as "amazing," and described his closing argument as one of the best she had ever seen. I highly recommend Madia Law.
I have the utmost respect for Ashwin Madia. Ashwin is professional, knowledgeable, sharp, and genuine. After three years of litigating against my employer, I found myself financially and emotionally drained.
I was ready to give up.
Just five weeks before trial, Ashwin agreed to take on my case and did an amazing and spectacular job at trial! We won! I am so thankful there are people like Ashwin in this world. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
After being referred to Ashwin Madia I wasn't sure what to expect. Many times in the past I felt unsure of myself. I knew I wanted justice but many times in the past I've had to just walk away. This time was different; if you have the opportunity to get Ashwin Madia to represent you, I know you will have the ammunition you need to defeat your opposition to get the justice your seeking.
This is a spectacular attorney with the understanding of the rights and feelings of others, with the willingness to protect and stand up for those that may not have a voice. I thank you so much Mr. Madia.
Joshua Newville is a brilliant and tenacious attorney. When I met with him, I was close to giving up hope that I would find a solution with my employer, which is a large company with a General Counsel. Josh said he'd take on my case. He then got my employer to agree to mediation, an avenue it had previously refused while it engaged in delaying tactics for years. The fact that Josh brought them to the table was a feat in and of itself. Josh, along with lawyers from Gender Justice, fought to obtain an equitable settlement and to ensure that the issues of wrong-doing were addressed through policy changes within the company. I am incredibly grateful to have had Josh advocate for me. He is skilled, determined, and motivated to get justice for his clients.
I would highly recommend Madia Law. My experience with attorney Joshua Newville and legal assistant Sara Ion exceeded my expectations! I had a need for employment-related legal experts, and I explored three other firms before an attorney friend recommended Madia Law. My initial consultation with Joshua was superb, and throughout the entire process I felt heard and understood. My one regret was not contacting them sooner, as one important deadline had passed. Despite that, our result was far better -- and quicker -- than any of us expected. Thank you Joshua, Sara and Madia Law!
Aswhin is an incredible trial lawyer. When we realized that a claim against our business was definitely going to a jury trial in federal court we switched counsel to Ashwin and his team. At the 11th hour they got spun up on the facts and the law (intellectual property) and delivered an amazing performance against a huge "downtown" law firm. From the beginning of his opening statement it was clear that we made the right choice.
I can't recommend Madia Law highly enough.
I worked with Madia Law for three years on multiple, complex cases. A challenging and emotional situation was handled with professionalism, tenacity and frequent communication by Mr. Newville. I can't speak highly enough about Mr. Newville's ability to quickly understand complex technical issues and synthesize them into strong arguments. I would not hesitate to contact Madia Law in the future should the need arise!
If I could give Joshua Newville with Madia Law 10 stars I would! Josh explained exactly WHAT he intended to do, and the outcome he hoped could be achieved as well as each scenario in between.
Honestly I thought it all sounded too good to be true.
Josh approached the other party in my case with civility and solutions versus aggression and hostility. I feel confident this influenced the other party’s willingness to work for a mutually agreeable solution. If you need someone to fight for your best interest in a work situation, you won't find ANYONE who will do a better job!
Joshua Newville is a bright star to watch. During the handling of our case, he was thorough and highly competent. We were extremely satisfied with the outcome of Josh’s hard work on our behalf. Josh was excellent in communicating information and always promptly responded to correspondence we initiated. Josh had an exceptional grasp of the complexities involved in our case and was current on evolving national rulings/events and resulting implications for our situation. I highly recommend Madia Law.
Ash is an amazing Lawyer! He gave us great advice but still made sure the decision at the end was ours. He was willing to fight for us and did a wonderful job. I could not be more pleased with the outcome and I recommend him highly to anyone in the need of a lawyer. Ash was so smart and did such a great job of helping us understand the process and make sense of it all. He is not only extremely good at his job but he is also a great person. He lets his guard down and by the end of the process he felt more like a friend who was fighting for what was right! I can not say enough good things about him!
Attorney Zane Umstead recently represented my family's interest in a difficult legal situation. He was quite effective and direct in dealing with the opposing party; yet to us he was very kind, thoughtful and courteous. He even generously offered to waive his entire legal fee after spending a generous amount of his time working hard on the case, if we elected not to bring the conflict to a conclusion. His integrity is exemplary and he makes his profession respectable. We highly recommend Attorney Umstead with great enthusiasm.
What can I say about Madia Law, working with Zane and Cody was a privilege, working with Ashwin was a honor. This firm shows great appreciation and care to their clients. I wish nothing but success to all of them.
The future of Madia law is bright and prosperous.
Thank you again for believing in me and showing the little guy counts.