State and federal laws have long-established wage and overtime laws to protect the rights of working class American employees. These laws include a minimum wage and the right to overtime pay when an employee is made to work more than 40 hours in a workweek. There is however, a loophole for employers when it comes to certain types of employees, known as “exempt” employees.
What Are Exempt Employees?
The term exempt refers to the fact that these employees are exempt from wage and overtime laws. For these employees, employers are not legally required to pay overtime wages when the employee works for more than 40 hours and does not have to provide meal or rest breaks.
There are three basic categories of employees who may qualify as exempt under the law: exempt executive employees, exempt professional employees, and exempt administrative employees. The underlying idea is that these are employees who exercise critical job functions, exercise independent discretion, possess specialized skills and use those skills, and/or perform key managerial functions. In other words, these are people deemed very important to an employer.
The misclassification of employees as exempt is an enormous source of controversy and lawsuits, as it is far too common. Specifically, among other factors, courts will look at the following:
- Your job duties. Courts look at an employee’s job responsibilities and not at their job title when determining whether an employee is properly classified as exempt.
- Whether you spend more than 50% of your work hours performing exempt activities. Again, the examination focuses on your actual activities, not on fancy job titles.
- Your salary. Exempt employees must meet a pre-determined legal minimum wage to be classified as exempt, which is generally around double the state minimum wage.
Why Would an Employer Wrongfully Classify an Employee as Exempt?
Employers do what they can to save money where they can. Unfortunately, this can lead to bad decisions, like misclassifying an employee as exempt in order to save money and not pay the employee overtime. In addition, employers do not have to follow meal and rest break rules for exempt employees. In other words, employers end up paying an employee less and getting more work out of them. However, this can come back to bite employers in a big way, as they can be held liable for significant damages and unpaid wages for violating wage and overtime laws.
Call Moss Bollinger to Fight For You
Employer misclassification of employees is incredibly common. This is the result of greedy employers trying to save some money by depriving employees of overtime pay and breaks. Not only is this misclassification unlawful, but it makes us angry. At Moss Bollinger, we go to great lengths to hold employers accountable for misconduct. This is a complex area of law that we want to help you resolve. We work on a contingency basis. Call Moss Bollinger today at (866) 535-2994 to schedule a free consultation or submit our online form.