Co-worker Gets Overtime; I Don’t

Question: to Ask the Workplace Doctors 

For quite some time now (over a year) when we are scheduled to work on Saturday, a coworker and I are made to leave earlier another day in the week, so as not to get overtime. Another coworker (same position as us) is never made to leave early on the weeks she works Saturdays, so she gets to have overtime pay. How is this right? Do we have a labor law dispute?

Signed, Is This Right

Answer:

Dear Is This Right:

Not everything is fair. You can find examples of unfairness in Aesop’s fables and the Bible–about some workers paid the same for less work than others. When something doesn’t seem fair, especially when it comes to your personal work and money, you want to make it right. So you have a voice and from time to time you can gripe about it with your coworker or you can choose one of several options. Your complaint is not a labor dispute unless you which to make it one. You can complain to your boss and/or Human Resources about this worker being paid overtime and you not. Then learn what is or isn’t done about that. If you belong to a union, you can take this matter up with it. Or you can confront the particular worker and tell her she doesn’t deserve overtime and make an enemy of her. Or you can contact your state or federal department of labor. Or you can enlist a labor attorney to get her/his opinion. However, I don’t think you want to cough up money to take this to court or pay an attorney to compose a letter to your company, not at the price they charge per hour. Please don’t consider what I’m providing as legal advice because we aren’t lawyers. The question you raise annoys you and might be easily resolved by your boss; however, it won’t be unless you approach it maturely. By that word, I mean that you should guard against repeatedly complaining about this to your coworker who also is not allowed overtime and your friends and family. Rather bring it to your boss with request that he/she do what can reasonably be done.

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