Oregon Unpaid Overtime Penalty

by Joel Christiansen

Oregon employers that fail to properly pay their employees overtime are typically liable to employees for more than just unpaid overtime wages. State and federal laws create harsh consequences for employers who break overtime laws. These harsh consequences are aimed at making sure non-exempt employees are paid what they’re owed, when they’re owed it.

Below is a summary of Oregon and federal laws that apply to many Oregon employers who fail to properly pay overtime wages to their employees. These laws are subject to exceptions and interpretation, so please do not treat this list as legal advice or a comprehensive list. If you’re dealing with an unpaid overtime claim, it is best to call a lawyer. This is a technical area of the law.

Oregon Overtime Penalty Wages. ORS 653.055 creates penalty wage liability exposure for employers that break Oregon overtime laws. The amount of the penalties, if available, is equal to the employee’s regular rate of pay multiplied by 240. Oregon’s penalty wage statute has written notice and other technical requirements.

Federal Liquidated Damages. 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) lays out rules regarding liquidated damages, which a court can award in an employee’s favor against employers that violate federal overtime law. The amount of the liquidated damages is “in an additional equal amount” to the unpaid overtime. In other words, employees may be entitled to “double damages” under federal law.

Prejudgment Interest. ORS 82.010 may allow employees to recover simple interest of 9% per annum from employers that violate Oregon overtime laws.

Attorneys’ Fees and Costs. ORS 652.200, ORS 653.055, and 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) each allow an employee to recover attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in bringing a suit under Oregon and federal law.