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Claims for unpaid wages, commissions, overtime

Federal law forbids an employer from using a sham “bonus” to avoid paying overtime.

Suppose an employer wants to control overtime costs by paying overtime hours as a “bonus” rather than time-and-a-half or double time.  A federal law known as the Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits an employer from using a sham “bonus” payment to artificially depress the hourly rate.

The employee’s regular hourly rate must reflect all payments which are supposed to be paid for a workweek.  An employer cannot set up an artificially low hourly rate upon which overtime pay is to be based and make up the additional compensation due to employees by other means.  Artificial rates, however calculated, violate the law.  No side agreement between the employer and employee can override this federal law.  This federal law imposes mandatory damages for any violation.

Pamela A. Smith
Law Office of Pamela A. Smith
233 Needham Street, Suite 540
Newton, MA 02464


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