The Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") is a federal law that requires employers to pay employees an overtime wage for any work performed beyond a forty hour work week for non exempt employees. Employers try to get around this law by labeling some job positions as "exempt" meaning it doesn't qualify for overtime wages. Jobs that may not qualify for overtime pay include executives and high level management.
What Type of Jobs Are Exempt from the Overtime Pay Requirements?
Whether a job is "exempt" depends on the duties, and also the education, skill, and special training required. Below are some examples of exempt employee positions under the FLSA:
- Exempt administrative employees provide support services to production and operation staff. They include employees in human resources, accounting, legal, public relations, compliance, finance, payroll and other related roles.
- Exempt executive employees include the CEO, managers, supervisors and other workers who play a decision-making role in an organization.
- Exempt professional employees include doctors, lawyers, licensed engineers, registered nurses, dentists, architects, teachers and other roles that require advanced education.
- Exempt creative professionals include writers, actors, musicians, journalists, artists and composers.
- Exempt outside sales employees include salespeople and marketers.
- Computer-related jobs with exempt status include computer programmers, software engineers and systems analysts.
- Professionals with advanced degrees (i.e., doctors, lawyers, and business executives) are exempt.
What Type of Jobs Are Entitled to Overtime?
Non-exempt employee positions that are required overtime compensation include contractors, freelancers, interns, servers, retail associates, secretaries, non-managerial paralegals, office clerks, receptionists, and similar jobs. A rule of thumb is to ask whether the employee must take direction from a supervisor. If so, there is a good chance that the position is not exempt.
If you worked beyond the forty-hour work week and were denied overtime wages, call employment wage claim lawyer Stephanie Sherman for a free confidential consultation before taking action on your own that could undermine your claim. You are entitled to your earned wages and may also qualify for double the amount as liquidated damages.
It is Illegal to Retaliate Against Any Employee Who Complains About Not Receiving Overtime Wages.
The FLSA Anti-Retaliation Provision
The FLSA forbids employers from retaliating against or punishing employees who raise concerns about their wages or overtime pay. The FLSA's anti-retaliation provision at 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3) states:
It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge or in another manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this chapter, or has or is about to testify in any such proceeding, or has served or is about to serve on an industry committee.
You must be able to show that you made a complaint about working overtime without compensation, and as a result, the employe took some retaliation, harassing, discriminatory, or intimidating action towards you.
An employer who retaliates or discriminates against an employee in violation of this statute is potentially subject to fines or even criminal prosecution, and the affected employee is entitled to "legal or equitable relief ... including without limitation employment, reinstatement, promotion, and the payment of wages lost and an additional equal amount" plus attorneys' fees and court costs. Punitive damages are available in appropriate cases.
If you believe you've been denied overtime compensation in violation of the Federal Labor Standards Act, contact wage claim attorney Stephanie Sherman for a free consultation. Don't let the employer get away from not paying you for work you performed for their benefit.