What does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) say about who is entitled to overtime pay and who is not and what does it mean for me?
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) most employees are entitled to receive no less than the federal minimum wage (currently $7.25 per hour) for all hours worked. Furthermore, employees are normally also entitled to overtime pay at one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay anytime they work for more than 40 hours a week.
However, the FLSA also states that certain types of employees known as “exempt employees” do not qualify for these protections under the Act. One of the most common exemptions under the Act is for “White Collar employees”, or simply, employees who are engaged in executive, administrative, or professional work, as well as others involved in outside sales or computer services.
These distinctions are important because they can mean the difference between whether you are entitled to overtime pay or not. Your employer may be listing you are a salaried employee in order to avoid paying you overtime. However, if you are salaried, depending on your job duties, you may be entitled to make a claim for lost wages.
Whether you are an exempt employee depends on what you do, not on your job title.
A job title alone is insufficient to establish you as someone who can be listed as a salaried employee, and thus not be able to claim overtime for any hours worked above 40 a week. In a wage claim dispute over whether you are entitled to lost overtime pay, it is thus important to go over the details of your job duties rather than focusing on job titles, which may, or may not be indicative of actual duties. Employers sometimes give employees job titles that far exceed an employee’s actual job duties in order to simply avoid paying employees for overtime.
Under the white collar employee exemption, in order to be exempt an employee must be (1) paid at least $23,600 annually ($455 per week), (2) be paid on a salary basis, and also (3) perform certain types of specific job duties (such as managerial, professional, white collar work). Since the minimum annual salary to be an exempt employee is so low, most disputes between employees and employers regarding claims for unpaid overtime will tend to revolve around whether you are engaged in a type of job that excludes your employer from paying you overtime. Examples of such job duties include, but are not limited to:
1. Executives – Business owners, Human Resource Managers, CEOs, etc.
2. Administrators – Personnel Managers, College Administrators, School Superintendents, Tax or Financial Consultants, Labor Relations representatives, Network and Database Administrators, Compliance experts, etc.
3. Professionals – Lawyers, Doctors, Theologians, Accountants, Engineers, Architects, Teachers, Scientists, Pharmacists, etc.
4. Computer Employees – IT Systems, Programs and Network Managers, Engineers, and Designers.
5. Outside sales employees – Employees who sell their employer’s products, services, or facilities to customers away from their employer’s place of business. Does not include sales made from the employer’s location (inside sales).
In late 2016, the Department of Labor attempted to raise the minimum salary requirements from $23,600 a year to $47,892 annually. However, the new rule was blocked by federal courts and the issue is currently being appealed in court. As with all legal issues, Pacin Levine, P.A. continues to monitor the latest legal developments and how they affect our clients’ interests.
If your employer was paying you under the table, misclassifying you as an independent contractor, providing you a salary without overtime, then you may have a wage and hour claim. If you think your employer has taken advantage of you, then give us a call today, 1-800-247-2727.