Class action lawyers are enjoying a brisk business targeting employees who believe they haven’t received their entitled overtime pay – and helping them recover these “lost” wages in court. With the Department of Labor (DOL) estimating that a staggering 70 percent of employers aren’t in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in some manner, now is the time to review one of the biggest areas of vulnerability for employers: misclassifying employees as exempt vs. non-exempt.
The DOL states that:
The FLSA, which prescribes standards for the basic minimum wage and overtime pay, affects most private and public employment. It requires employers to pay covered employees who are not otherwise exempt at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay of one-and-one-half-times the regular rate of pay.
Determining those employees “who are not otherwise exempt” is the tricky part, however. Problems may arise if it appears you’re avoiding paying an employee overtime pay by misclassifying the non-exempt employee as an exempt employee. In some cases, salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay; the distinction is whether the employee is “exempt” according to FLSA requirements. While most exempt employees must receive a salary, salaried workers aren’t necessarily exempt from being paid overtime for working more than 40 hours in a week.
Generally speaking, employees who work in an executive, administrative or professional capacity - as well as certain employees in computer-related positions and outside salespeople -are exempt. To qualify for an exemption, these employees must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid a salary of at least $455 per week. Job titles do not determine exempt status. Rather, an exemption applies when an employee’s specific job duties and salary meet all the DOL regulations.
Check out the ComplyRight Now E-Guide, Determining Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees, for help figuring out whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt – and to steer clear of FLSA-related employee lawsuits.