Nov 17 2017
In Connecticut, state and federal laws require workers to be properly paid for doing their job. Employers must pay overtime premiums, which is time and a half, to certain workers for working more than 40 hours per week. However, there are exceptions – certain jobs or situations can make an employee exempt to the overtime laws, meaning your employer is not required to pay you more money if you work more than 40 hours per week. The problems here typically stem from an employer misclassifying a worker to avoid paying that employee overtime.
According to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employee must be classified as one of the following to be exempt from overtime:
- Executive Exemption: The employee is an executive position in the company, such as a CEO for example.
- Learned Professional Exemption: The employee performs work that requires advanced knowledge, such as a scientist.
- Administrative Exemption: The employee performs office work related to the management or general business operations of the employer or customers.
- Creative Professional Exemption: The employee performs work includes invention, imagination, originality or talent in a creative endeavor.
- Outside and Inside Sales Exemptions: The employee sells the employers’ products, services, or facilities either away from or inside the place of business.
- Highly Compensated Employees: The employee earns a total annual compensation of $100,000 or more and performs office or non-manual work.
This list is not exhaustive. We can write an entire article about FLSA exemptions, but there’s one thing you should know as an employee: Employers can label employees under these exemptions to avoid paying their employees overtime pay.
If an employer misclassifies an employee and doesn’t properly pay them, the employer will be on the hook for that individual’s overtime pay.
Without breaking down the individual exemptions, an employee can be nonexempt from receiving overtime if he or she holds the duties of: telemarketing, food prepping, bookkeeping, working as a cashier, filing and more.
Let’s say you are working as a cashier at a local grocery store, and you frequently work overtime. After weeks or months of working overtime in a row, your employer promotes you to an assistant manager role. Your employer claims an executive exemption and stops paying you for hours worked in excess of 40.
An executive exemption is usually applied to an employee who manages other employees. To qualify:
- The employee must be compensated on a salary basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
- The employee’s primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise;
- The employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent; and
- The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees must be given particular weight.
Here’s the thing; your weekly salary just got a bump, but you are still working overtime and not getting paid for it. You have the title of assistant manager, but you have none of the above-mentioned responsibilities of an employee classified under an executive exemption.
Does any of this sound like your current situation? Did you receive a promotion or new job title after working your butt off for months, but aren’t receiving the perks of the promotion? Are you not allowed to perform any of the duties promised in this new role?
If you answered yes, then your employer might have misclassified you under a different exemption to avoid paying you overtime pay. That’s illegal.
Contact the employment attorneys at Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C. today. You deserve the money you worked so hard for.