Many workers in Colorado are aware that they are entitled to paid overtime if their employer requires them to work more than forty hours in a single week, but they have no idea how to enforce that obligation. The answer lies in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, a law that was passed in 1938 as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal reforms. Colorado has a similar statute that is called the Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order (COMPS Order) #36. Employees who are covered by both the federal statute and the state regulation may choose coverage under whichever law provides the greater benefits.

Both the federal law and state regulation mandate the payment of overtime at 150% of the worker’s basic wage if the employer requires work in excess of 40 hours per week, more than 12 hours per day or more than 12 consecutive hours regardless of the day of the week.

Many employers attempt to evade the mandatory overtime provisions of these two laws by supposedly classifying the employees as executive or professional. An employer may be given a lofty sounding job title even those the duties of the job are relatively menial. Both the federal and state law look to the substance of the job to determine if an exemption is warranted. If the job title is deemed to be artificial, the employee will be covered by the mandatory overtime provisions.

The provisions of these two employee protection laws can become quite complex depending upon the nature of the jobs that are at issue. Anyone who feel that they have been improperly denied overtime pay may wish to consult an experienced employment lawyer for an evaluation of the situation and the likelihood of prevailing. In proceeding with such a case, an employee should bear in mind that a successful claimant can recover attorneys’ fees.