If you work for a private employer who has annual receipts of at least $500,000, that employer is subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA mandates wages and overtime pay for various types of employees.
The State of Connecticut also has a law about wages and overtime pay. Title 31, Chapter 558 of the General Statutes of Connecticut largely mirrors the FLSA. So, if you believe you’re owed Connecticut overtime pay, you may consider contacting the Connecticut Department of Labor. The Connecticut Wage and Workplace Standards Division provides a form, “Statement of Claim for Wages,” that you can complete if you believe you are owed overtime pay.
The form asks for your contact information, Social security number, and the type of work you do. It also asks for quite a bit of information about your employer, including the name of the person in charge, the number of hours worked per week, and the total amount you are claiming. You also have to provide an explanation as to why you believe your employer owes you money.
If you want the federal government to investigate your overtime pay issue, you need to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division. You can either file a complaint by mail or by traveling to a Wage & Hour Division (WHD) office. In Connecticut, there are two offices: one in Hartford and one in New Haven.
Because there is a two-year statute of limitations on overtime claims, you have to file a Wage & Hour Division complaint within 18 months of the violation. In the complaint, you have to include the following information:
- Your name, address, and phone number
- Your job title and a description of what you do on the job
- How much you are paid, how you are paid, and how often you are paid,
- How many hours you work per week
- An explanation of the alleged violations and the dates that the violations occurred
- Your employer’s name, address, and phone number
- The type of business your employer engages in
At that point, your complaint is in the government’s hands. The Connecticut Department of Labor and the federal WHD care about employees’ rights, but they have limited resources. The WHD reviews your complaint, but only opens an investigation if they think there’s been a legal violation and if they think they can fix the problem.
The alternative to filing a complaint with the Connecticut Department of Labor or the WHD is to contact an employment attorney. An employment attorney also cares about employees’ rights, and will represent you in a lawsuit against your employer (or former employer). In successful cases, an employment attorney may be able to recover the difference between the amount you should have been paid and the amount you were actually paid, as well as an equal amount for liquidated damages.
The Connecticut law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act also say that you can recover your employment attorney’s fee and court costs. The law’s “fee-shifting” provision makes the employer pay your legal fees. For this reason, your employment attorney will likely not charge you any money upfront to take your case.