Q: I work for a retail chain. They make me work 50 to 60 hours a week. They promoted me to assistant manager and gave me a salary. I earn less now than I did when I was paid hourly and got overtime. I don’t think that’s legal. Should I call a lawyer?
Ashley, Sheffield, AL
A: We have seen some court rulings in recent years favorable to workers who have been deemed “exempt from the executive” to avoid overtime. These cases fall under the Law on Fair Labor Standards. The FLSA is a federal law that regulates the statutory wage rate for different types of workers.
We look at cases where employees have been classified as executives but their work is similar to that of hourly workers. If branch managers or department heads are classified as an Executive Exempt, they will not be paid overtime. However, often times their primary role is not management and this is simply a misclassification to avoid paying overtime wages.
There are also decisions regarding companies hiring workers as “independent contractors”. These workers are hired to avoid paying wage taxes, compensation payments, unemployment insurance and overtime.
The factors we look for in determining whether or not a worker is truly an independent contractor are how much control they have over the execution of the work. Considerations are when the job is done and who says when the job is done. Other factors include who is supplying the tools and other supplies and whether they have the right to fire someone on the job site.
Certain employers also require employees to work “off the clock”. This is also a violation of the FLSA.
Misclassification of employees is quite common. If you’re making less money doing the same job, we’d like to review this case. As a rule, the courts award three times the amount of damages.
Buckle up, wash your hands and as always, your recommendations will be appreciated! 256-764-0112
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