The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“FLSA”) regulates both wages and hours in nearly every workplace in the United States. Since the 1930s the FLSA has aimed to protect the stability of the work force and the general well-being of employees by, among other things, requiring that every employee must be paid at a rate of 150 percent of their hourly rate of pay (commonly known as “time-and-a-half”) for hours worked in excess of 40 per week, unless specifically exempted by law.

What to Know About Misclassification

Some employers stretch the meanings of the exemptions, which results in misclassified jobs that should be subject to overtime pay.  Common lawful exemptions include the Professional, Administrative, and Executive Exemption.  We have provided an overview of these exemptions below to help you determine whether you are entitled to overtime.  When looking at the bullet points, remember that your employer must meet each requirement for you not to be entitled to overtime.

The first exemption, the Professional Exemption, applies to individuals engaged in the “learned professions.”  Look at this exemption if you work in architecture, theology, medicine, law or in a science such as biology, chemistry, physics, or engineering.  In addition to the fact that this exemption applies in limited areas of practice, the employer must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be paid at least $913 per week (as of December 1, 2016);
  • Your primary duty must be the performance of work that requires advanced knowledge that one customarily acquires by a prolonged course of specialized instruction; and
  • You must consistently exercise independent judgment in your work.

The Administrative Exemption might be applicable to those individuals working in an office managing general business operations or your employer’s customers.  But you must also:

  • Be paid at least $913 per week (as of December 1, 2016); and
  • Exercise discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance

Last, look at the Executive Exemption if your employer considers you an “upper level” employee.  But remember, the following requirements must still be met for your employer to pay you on a salary basis (even if your title reflects an executive or managerial position):

  • You must be paid at least $913 per week (as of December 1, 2016);
  • Your duty must be managing the business or department;
  • You must direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees; and
  • You must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or your suggestions and recommendations as to hiring and firing must be given particular weight.

Speak With a Skilled Wage and Hour Violations Attorney Today

East Tennessee Employment Law is prepared to help you in this area.  Our office has served as class counsel in FLSA collective actions to recover unpaid overtime for employees in almost every industry.  In a successful lawsuit our firm may help you recover payment of all back pay for overtime that was earned but not paid, liquidated damages of twice the amount of overtime back pay, and payment of your attorney’s fees.  If you believe you have a claim, call us at 865-383-1053 or fill out our contact form.

We hope you found this description helpful.  We encourage you to go to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website, www.dol.gov/whd/flsa, for additional information.