Employers Cannot Force Employees To Accept A Shorter Overtime Statute Of Limitations

Under federal overtime law, a claim must be brought within two years of the overtime violation unless the employee can prove that the employer willfully failed to pay overtime, in which case the statute of limitations is extended to three years.  Employees receive a separate two- or three-year time limit for each overtime violation.  Only claims for violations that occurred more than two (or perhaps three) years before suit was filed are invalid. 

Many employers include provisions in employment contracts that purport to reduce the time limit for filing an overtime claim to less than two years.  Federal courts do not honor such provisions.  They consider employer attempts to shorten the overtime statute of limitations to be impermissible waivers of employee rights under federal overtime law. 

In an earlier post I discussed the general rules against waiver of overtime rights.  Early in the history of overtime law, the United States Supreme Court was concerned that employers would try to circumvent the law’s requirements and gain a competitive advantage by demanding that employees waive their overtime rights.  Not only that, but waivers of overtime rights would also nullify the very purpose for passing such a law.  That same reasoning applies to employer attempts to restrict employees to a shorter overtime statute of limitations.

Overtime cases require legal analysis of federal statutes, U.S. Department of Labor regulations, and court decisions.  I can help you with any employment law or labor law questions that you might have.  Please feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation about employment law or labor law.

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