Many employers assume a worker who gets paid a salary is not entitled to the premium overtime compensation rate, but this is not the case.
Although earning an annual salary of at least $23,600 is one of the requirements for overtime exemption, an employee must also fit into one of three categories in order to qualify for the exemption. Only administrative, executive, and professional employees can legally be denied overtime compensation.
In order to be considered an administrative employee, a worker must perform primarily office work and provide administrative assistance directly to an executive. In order to qualify under the executive category, an employee must spend most of her time managing other employees, have the authority to discipline those employees, and have significant say in the hiring and firing of those employees. The professional category consists of all workers whose jobs require a certain set of skills or level of education to perform, such as attorneys and performers.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all employees who don’t meet these requirements are eligible for one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week.
There is no legal limit to the number of hours per week an employee can work, provided she is paid the proper overtime compensation for all the hours she works. In some states, employees are entitled to double their normal hourly rates any time they work more than twelve hours a day or for the time they spend working on their seventh consecutive day of work.
In some wage and hour lawsuits, when an employee is denied overtime, she can file a minimum wage claim as well as an overtime claim if her wages, divided by her hours, amounted to less than the legally-mandated minimum wage.
Marcos L. worked as a Pilates instructor for Pilates Bodies New York in Queens. He alleges he was expected to work fifteen hours a day seven days a week. He was allegedly not allowed to take breaks between classes and was allegedly not allowed to take time off or get assistance from other employees. He says his salary of $1,000 per week was barely enough for him to make ends meet. However, even working 105 hours per week, his salary was still high enough that he cannot file a claim for minimum wage.
In addition to the FLSA, each state has its own laws regulating things like overtime and minimum wage. New York, for example, sets its minimum wage at $8.75 per hour, which is higher than the federal rate of $7.25 per hour. New York also requires companies to provide workers in certain jobs a break of 24 consecutive hours each week. Some employees in the state are also entitled to rest breaks lasting at least half an hour. Marcos will likely file claims under these laws in his wage and hour lawsuit.
The owner of the studio sued Marcos for breach of contract after he quit in December 2014. The owner alleged Marcos hurt her business by quitting and defaming the studio online.
Marcos responded with a wage and hour lawsuit, which is currently pending in federal court in Brooklyn.
Our Elmhurst and Maywood wage and hour attorneys and unpaid overtime lawyers and attorneys are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
Nationwide Consumer Rights is based in Chicago and Oakbrook Terrace. We represent clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (877) 990-4990 or through our online form.