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Damages Available for a Violation of the Fair Labor Standard Act(FLSA)

Damages Available for a Violation of the Fair Labor Standard Act(FLSA)1

By: Jeremy Schatz, Managing Attorney, Virtus Law Group, Birmingham Alabama.           

When an employer wrongfully withholds wages or overtime or calculates them incorrectly and causes your payment to be incorrect, it can cause not only stress but can lead to serious financial consequences.

If you choose to pursue a claim against your employer what damages may be available to you?

There are generally two types of damages that may be available to you should you qualify for protection under the FLSA.

Back Wages

Back wages are simply the amount of money you are owed if you would have been paid correctly. For example, if you worked 20 hours of overtime at an overtime rate of $25 during a workweek that is unpaid, your back-wages would be  $500.

When filing an FLSA violation claim you can receive back wages for the previous two years from the date the complaint is filed unless you can prove willfulness which allows for recovery for the prior three years.

Liquidated Damages

While pain and suffering and emotional distress are generally not allowed in claims for FLSA violations(unless you have a retaliation claim), liquidated damages are. Liquidated damages are meant to compensatory nature and are equal to the amount owed in back wages.

Using the example above, if you are owed $500 in back wages you may be owed an equal amount in liquidated damages making your total recovery $1000.


[1] The FLSA is an extremely complicated area of law and this is meant to be a general overview. There are numerous exceptions, exemptions, and defenses that may be applicable to a potential claim.

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