Most people have heard of overtime laws. In general, if you work more than 40 hours in one work week, you are entitled to be paid one-and-a-half times your regular rate for all hours exceeding 40. The law includes exemptions for several professionals or highly paid people. In addition, the Fair Labor Standards Act provides overtime protection to many people who are in white collar or professional jobs.
There are many situations where employees may be entitled to seek overtime pay:
One example from the legal field is paralegals or legal assistants. Law firms argued that paralegals have the type of specialized training and duties that make them exempt from overtime pay. The Department of Labor has issued opinions that paralegals and legal assistants are not exempt from overtime pay, however. Incorrect classification is a common occurrence in other industries as well, such as mortgage and banking.
Just because an employee is paid a salary rather than an hourly wage does not mean the employee is exempt from overtime. It depends on the details of the employee’s work based on specific guidelines set by statute.
A true independent contractor is probably not entitled to overtime pay. However, sometimes employers will call employees “independent contractors” to avoid overtime and other expenses, but the relationship is really one of employer/employee. In these cases, the employee is likely entitled to overtime pay.
If the employer changes the employee’s classification from exempt to non-exempt, the employee may be entitled to recover up to two years of overtime pay for the time the employee was misclassified as exempt.
If non-exempt earns less than $455 per week, non-exempt is automatically entitled to pay for overtime.
Often employees have to set up before beginning work or clean up after work. Employees are generally entitled to credit for that time as work time. For example, a bank teller may be required to work an extra twenty minutes every day to balance the drawer. This is working time and the employee should receive credit for it even the employee has “technically” clocked out.
An experienced overtime lawyer can help you navigate Minnesota exempt and non-exempt employment law, including evaluating employee claims for overtime wages.