Cheated out of overtime wages

Dear Nurse Beth Advice Column - The following letter submitted anonymously in search for answers. Join the conversation! Nurses Nurse Beth Nursing Q/A


So I work a perform job as a hospice nurse. From time to time they have asked me to cover on call shifts , which I have. I've always been paid my regular per down rate not on cal rate as that is completely different and not worth my time to be honest. So there was an unusual circumstance where a nurse was out on disability and the second on call nurse called out. I had already committed to a few of the shifts when the nurse called out and they asked me to cover those, I did. I accumulated a bunch of overtime and when looking at my pay app two days prior to payday it showed my overtime and the pay I would receive. The day before payroll someone went in and changed it to all straight pay. I proceeded to contact my supervisor and she stated she spoke with payroll and I will be paid appropriately. Lo and behold my pay does not get fixed. I requested payroll number etc and the Human Resources informed me we don't pay on call overtime I instructed her that I've been paid overtime in the past she said it's too much money and I said my rate has always been my rate and it's never been an issue in the past. So I requested a policy that stated on call doesn't get paid overtime of which I am not the on call nurse but a person who covered the shifts at my regular rate I never end the policy I was directed to the chief Human Resources nurse who then proceeded to state we are investigated a week later which now has been three weeks since payroll I get a email after asking what is going on that they are close to a resolution Friday at 3 in the afternoon I get an email for a meeting the following week , there resolution is we aren't going to pay you for overtime but we will continue to pay you your the regular rate of Pay up until June 23 when the new policy comes into effect. So I told them you can't go back and they informed me we aren't but we aren't going to pay you the over time either So what's my next step go over and above to the top person in organization? Or file a complaint with the labor board. No policy and procedure, change my pay no notification of pay rate change prior to working those hours Seems to me I have a case Please advise Thank you

Share this post

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Given your situation, it seems you have a legitimate case. Here are the steps you can consider taking:

Document everything

Ensure you document all your communications (emails, messages) with your supervisor, payroll, and HR.

Keep records of your timesheets, pay stubs, and other relevant documents showing your hours worked and the pay you received.

Internal resolution

Request a formal written explanation from HR regarding why your overtime pay was changed to straight pay without prior notification or a valid policy.

If no policy supports their claim, insist on seeing any written policy that states how on-call and overtime pay is handled.

Escalate internally

If you do not get a satisfactory response from HR, escalate the issue to higher management within your organization. This could be the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Executive Officer (CEO), or whoever is the top person in the organization.

Clearly state your case, including your documentation, and explain that you seek fair compensation for the overtime hours worked.

File a complaint with the Labor Board

If internal escalation does not resolve the issue, you should consider filing a complaint with your state's labor board or Department of Labor. Each state has a labor department that handles wage disputes, and they can investigate your claim.

Provide all your documentation to the labor board to support your claim.

Seek legal advice

Consult with an employment attorney who specializes in wage and hour disputes. They can provide legal advice tailored to your situation and help you understand your rights.

An attorney can also assist you in filing a complaint or a lawsuit if necessary.

Prepare for possible retaliation

Be aware that raising such issues might lead to retaliation. Document any changes in your work conditions or any adverse actions taken against you after you raise this issue.

Retaliation for asserting your rights is illegal, and you can file a separate complaint for retaliation if it occurs.


You have several options, from resolving the issue internally to filing a complaint with the labor board. Documentation and a clear understanding of your rights are crucial in this process. You likely have a strong case because your pay and an applicable policy were altered without notice.

Consulting with an employment attorney would provide additional support and guidance.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth