Acknowledging that employees in 28 different job positions were misclassified as exempt from overtime payments, oil and gas services giant Halliburton recently agreed to pay one of the largest overtime recoveries in Department of Labor history. The jobs, such as field service reps, pipe recovery specialists, drilling technology advisors, and others, were paid a salary and treated as exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company also did not bother to keep records of the time put in by misclassified workers.
Every worker should know that they are not exempt and ineligible for overtime based solely on their receipt of a salary, as opposed to hourly employment. The FLSA has exemptions for salaried workers in bona fide executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales positions, and some computer employees. These exemptions, commonly known as "EAP" exemptions have specific requirements, including compensation at not less than $455.00 per week. The pay threshold is pretty low, but the duties tests are fairly specific- and generally require that EAP exempt employees exercise considerable discretion in the management and administrative functions of the business. Simply labeling a worker "Assistant Manager" (or any other label) and then expecting him or her to work 60 hours per week for what often turns out to be less than minimum wage does not meet FLSA requirements, and could very well expose the company to two years in back overtime and/or minimum wage.
The FLSA requires that non-exempt employees are paid at least the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and a half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses, and incentive pay, for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek. The employer is also required to keep accurate time and payroll records, or risk the possibility of being subject to the workers' best reasonable estimate.
If you have a question about whether you have been misclassified as a salaried, overtime-exempt worker, give us a call. The North Carolina Employment Law attorneys at Edelstein & Payne have experience recovering overtime and minimum wage payments for workers who were denied the fruits of their labor, and are available for consultation and/or representation regarding a variety of employment law issues.