Kalandra Wheeler
Texas Employment Lawyer Kalandra Wheeler

As the holiday season approaches, many employees find themselves working extra hours to meet year-end deadlines or accommodate increased consumer activity. This is especially true in the retail and hospitality industries.

Various industries experience a significant increase in demand during the holiday season. For example, retailers see an uptick in customer traffic due to holiday shopping, and restaurants or hotels may encounter increased bookings for holiday events or as a consequence of holiday travel. These consumer demands often result in extended hours of operation, requiring employees to work longer hours to meet customer needs and fulfill orders.

While the reasons for working longer hours during the holidays can vary and may even be unexpected by the employer, employees must be paid for the work performed.

The prospect of holiday overtime brings into play the Fair Labor Standards Act, which governs various aspects of employment, including overtime pay.

The law does not require a special pay rate merely for working during or on holidays. Whether an employer chooses to offer additional pay for holiday work beyond what is required by the law is at the company’s discretion. Some employers may provide extra compensation or bonuses for working on holidays as an incentive or recognition of the inconvenience to employees.

Though there is no special premium rate for ordinary work during the holidays, the law governing overtime pay does not take vacation during the holiday season. Fifty-two weeks a year, non-exempt employees are entitled to receive overtime pay—typically set at one and a half times an employee’s regular hourly rate—for hours worked beyond the standard 40 hours per workweek.

A non-exempt employee is an individual covered by the wage and hour provisions of the FLSA. They are entitled to certain protections under the law, including those requiring a minimum wage and overtime pay. Exempt employees are typically salaried workers who meet specific criteria related to job duties and salary level, exempting them from overtime pay under the FLSA.

Non-exempt employees should be proactive in understanding their rights under the FLSA and advocating for fair and appropriate compensation. If an employer is violating overtime pay regulations, employees have the right to take legal action. If you are not receiving overtime pay for overtime hours worked, our attorneys are available for consultation.

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is easy for overtime pay to be overlooked or slip through the cracks. Employees should be mindful of the hours they work as their days get longer while meeting the demands of consumers during extended work hours. Employees should be careful when reviewing their pay stubs to ensure they are being paid in full for ALL hours worked; this includes pay at their premium overtime rate for hours worked over 40 in any given workweek. Don’t let your employer take advantage of the distractions caused by the busy holiday season.

As the holiday season unfolds and workplaces hum with heightened activity, it is essential for employees to understand the connection between holiday overtime pay and the FLSA. By staying informed about their rights and keeping a close eye on their hours worked and the compensation received, workers can enjoy the holiday season, knowing that they are being fully compensated for all the work they are performing to ensure their customers’ needs are being met.

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Photo of Kalandra N. Wheeler Kalandra N. Wheeler

We asked Kalandra N. Wheeler, a Trial Attorney in the Houston office of Wiley Wheeler, P.C., to provide her sincere answers to a range of questions.  After reading, you will be more more abreast with the understanding and competency that Ms. Wheeler

We asked Kalandra N. Wheeler, a Trial Attorney in the Houston office of Wiley Wheeler, P.C., to provide her sincere answers to a range of questions.  After reading, you will be more more abreast with the understanding and competency that Ms. Wheeler brings.

1.Why did you start practicing labor and employment law?

I wanted to be able to help people that otherwise might not find help. Labor and employment laws affect most of society.  And – whether our results help one or many – our work and efforts as employment lawyers touch people in a real way in their every day lives.

2. Who is your favorite Supreme Court Justice?

Thurgood Marshall.

3. What do you think is the most important part of a good case?

The client. Good facts and evidence are definitely important. But good clients are a lawyers’ most valuable asset.  A good client: (1) is invested in their case; (2) works or worked hard for their employer; (3) can tell their story clearly and concisely; and (4) is someone that a jury will find sympathetic and relatable.

4. If you could write a new law, what would it do?

The Texas Workplace Anti-Bullying law.  I hear the stories, the ones told by employees looking for help. And in far too many of those stories the law offers no solution.  Every employee that goes to work and works hard to do the job they are hired to perform should be able to do so without abuse, harassment, and bullying. There is no justification for bullying, not in our schools, and not in our workplaces.

5. Besides Rob Wiley, P.C., what is the most interesting job that you have had?

For a year before law school, I worked as a lube tech for Jiffy Lube.  I spent hot summer days, working on hot cars, changing oil or flushing transmissions or radiators.  I never had a customer come back with a complaint.

6. How do you market yourself differently than others?

I tell clients what they need to hear, not necessarily what they want to hear. Before a client begins down any path toward resolving an employment dispute, they need thoughtful, honest advice. I am a believer in justice and everyday people deserve competent representation in an arena that is difficult for non-lawyers to navigate.

7. What do you do when you’re not practicing law?

I spend time with family and friends.  I read true crime books.  I sew and draw.

8. How would you describe the color yellow to someone who could not see?

It’s not the intense heat of the sun during the month of August, but instead the softness of the sun on your skin just as the seasons change from Summer to Fall.  It’s warm. And soft to the touch.  It’s fresh squeezed lemonade with a hint of sugar.  Slightly cool, inviting, and happy.

9. What’s your favorite legal TV show?

Law & Order: SVU

10. If you could argue any case in history, what would it be?

The Karen Silkwood case. But really, I think that would be more about arguing and trying a case alongside Gerry Spence for the learning experience.

Kalandra N. Wheeler is a Trial Attorney in the Houston office of Wiley Wheeler, P.C.  She graduated from The University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in political science.  Ms. Wheeler went on and received her law degree from The University of Arkansas.