The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides that employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek are entitled to be paid overtime for every hour over 40 at one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay. It is true that certain classes of employees are exempt from the overtime rules and can be required to work more than 40 hours without additional pay. However, these overtime exemptions are frequently misunderstood or misapplied by employers, who misclassify employees as exempt and do not pay them all the wages to which they are entitled. Fortunately, the attorneys at the Law Offices of J.J. Talbott in Pensacola are here to help you recover for unpaid overtime. We represent employees across the Florida panhandle and southern Alabama who have been misclassified as exempt employees and help them get the compensation they deserve.
White Collar Exemptions from Overtime
Most employees who are misclassified as exempt from overtime are white collar employees who are classified under one of the FLSA’s three “white collar exemptions.” Employees who are told they are exempt may not question the fact. Many people wrongfully assume that if they are paid on a salary instead of hourly, then they are exempt from overtime. It is true that exempt employees must be paid on a salary of at least $455 per week instead of hourly, but this “salary basis test” is only one piece of the overtime exemptions. There are additional criteria which must be present for each FLSA exemption in order for an employee to be properly classified as exempt:
Executive – This exemption applies to employees whose primary duty is managerial. An employee who directs the work of two or more full-time employees can be considered managerial, for instance. Also, having the authority to make hiring and firing decisions or employment recommendations is a hallmark of the executive exemption. Executives typically exercise a high degree of independent judgment as well.
Administrative – This exemption applies to employees who perform non-manual or office work which is directly related to the management or general business operations of the company, as opposed to engaging in producing the company’s product or performing its service as a primary role.
Professional – The professional exemption is for employees whose job requires them to have advance knowledge in their field in order to complete their primary role in the company. Primarily intellectual, the work of a professional requires the exercise of discretion and judgment. Learned professionals and creative professionals can both fall under this overtime exemption.
Unless your actual job duties fall within one of these exceptions, you are likely being misclassified as exempt from overtime. Don’t rely on your employer’s statements or the classification listed in your job description. The work you actually perform is what counts.
The other major type of exemption from the overtime rules exists for Independent Contractors, who are also frequently misclassified and wrongly considered exempt. Outside sales employees and certain high-tech employees and skilled computer professionals may also be exempt from overtime if they meet the applicable criteria.
Legal Help is Available for Unpaid Overtime in Florida and Alabama
If you have been improperly classified as exempt from overtime, you may be able to go back and recover unpaid wages for the overtime you worked but were not paid for. You must act quickly, however, because the law does not allow you to go back forever, and if you wait too long, unpaid wages which are rightfully yours can be forever lost. In Pensacola, Florida and southern Alabama, contact the Law Offices of J.J. Talbott for assistance from qualified employment lawyers who can help make sure you are paid the wages you are owed.