Not Paid Overtime Wages? How Far Back Can You Sue For Damages?

Employees who are the victims of unfair wage practices often wonder how much they can claim in damages.  Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which is a federal law that applies to minimum and overtime wage claims, employees can sue for claims arising within the past two years.  If an employee can prove that the company willfully violated the law, then they can sue for damages arising within the last three years.

This “willfulness” issue is a big part of any litigation involving unpaid wage claims because an employee could receive an additional year’s worth of damages if they can prove a willful violation of the law.  You may be wondering what does “willfulness” mean and how can an employee prove it.   An employee just needs to show that an employer knew or should have known that it was violating the law.  Employees can prove willfulness if the evidence shows that the employer did not look into the law or whether the employer was complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

As you can see, willfulness is a fact-specific issue and varies by case.  Some employers are more proactive in their compliance measures and others are not.  It is important to aggressively pursue evidence relating to the willfulness issue because significant wages and damages for the employees can be at stake.

Given these two or three year time constraints, it is important to speak with an attorney promptly so your claims do not expire.  Please contact the Shavitz Law Group, P.A. at 800-616-4000 or [email protected] if you were the victim of unfair wage practices and would like a free evaluation of your legal claims.


Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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