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Failure to Pay Overtime and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act


The North Carolina Wage and Hour Act shields employees from abusive employment practices. Among its many protections are provisions relating to overtime pay. In most cases, employers must pay a worker overtime at one and a half (1 ½) times the normal hourly rate for every hour worked beyond the typical forty (40) hour week. Being a salaried employee does not automatically exempt you from the statute. You can file a civil suit under the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act if your employer violates these terms.

Hourly Employees

Computing an overtime rate is relatively easy for hourly employees. For example, an employee who typically earns $8.00 an hour in entitled to $12.00 an hour in overtime. This same employee works 50 hour weeks. If the employee is not compensated at the overtime rate for the extra ten hours, the employer would owe another $40.00. The amount can add up over time.


Many types of salaried employees are exempt for the Wage and Hour Act, including executives and professionals. For salaried employees who are not exempt, the calculation is slightly different. Assume an employee works a fifty (50) hour work week. This means their base salary is $10.00 an hour. Multiplying this by one and a half (1 1/2) yields an overtime rate of $15.00. At that rate, 10 hours extra totals $50.00.

An important consideration in determining whether to proceed against an employer under a Wage and Hour claim is that you may be entitled to “double damages” and attorney’s fees. If your employer does not prove “good faith” in violating the statute, then you recover double whatever your actual damages are. Assume the salaried employee above was denied overtime for twenty (20) weeks; this means he or she would have $4,000.00 of actual damages and could recover total $8,000.00. The employer would also have to pay the employee’s attorney’s fees.

Wage and Hour Attorneys

The Wake County employment lawyers of Maginnis Law can assist you in recovering unpaid overtime through the filing of a civil lawsuit. We handle North Carolina Wage and Hour claims on a contingency basis, which means that you do not pay any attorney’s fees unless and until we recover on your behalf. We also offer all consultations for Wage and Hour claims free of charge.

Maginnis Law’s Raleigh employment attorneys regularly assist clients in and around the Triangle. You may send a confidential email regarding your case through our contact page or by phone at (919) 526-0450.