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Overtime and Wage & Hour Collective Actions

Atlanta Overtime Attorney

Handling Overtime and Wage & Hour Collective Actions in Georgia:(404) 781-1100

One of the oldest federal employment laws is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This depression-era federal law set forth certain minimum wage and overtime standards applicable to virtually all U.S. employers.

The FLSA covers a number of different areas, including child labor laws. However, there are two key provisions of the FLSA that impact just about every employee who works for a wage in this country:

  1. The minimum wage provision (the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour)
  2. The overtime provision

Are You Owed Overtime Wages?

Overtime law states all employees who are not exempt from the FLSA must be paid at a rate of one and one half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in any workweek. Although this sounds like a simple rule, employers paying overtime wages is far from a simple matter.

There are a number of arcane overtime rules and broad exemptions that employers often rely on in an attempt to avoid paying overtime. As a result, unpaid overtime is one of the most frequent sources of employee complaints. Overtime class action cases are probably the fastest growing type of employment litigation in our federal court system.

Exemptions Under Overtime Laws

The most important issue in overtime law is whether or not the law applies to the type of work you do—whether or not you are exempt. If you make over a certain amount of money per week, and you perform a certain type of "white collar" work, then you are exempt from overtime. This means your employer need not pay you time and a half no matter how many hours you work in a week.

If, however, the exemptions do not apply to you, then you are considered non-exempt. Your employer must pay you time and a half for every hour you work more than 40 in any workweek.

There are three principal exemptions under the FLSA:

  • Executive
  • Administrative
  • Professional

For your employer to establish your work falls under an exemption, they must prove you are paid no less than $455 per week on a salary basis. Additionally, they must prove your principal duties are executive, administrative, or professional in nature.

What Is the Salary Basis Test?

The salary basis test means that you must be paid a real salary to be exempt. That means you receive a fixed and predetermined sum of money each pay period. This fixed amount does not vary with the amount of hours you work, or the quality of your work.

If your compensation varies with the amount of hours you work, then you are a non-exempt hourly employee and entitled to overtime. If you are paid on what appears to be a salary basis, but your employer docks your pay, you are not paid on a salary basis. This means you are probably non-exempt and eligible for overtime.

It's critical to remember in these cases is that the title or label of your job does not matter. Instead, it is the nature of your work that determines whether or not you are exempt. Don't be fooled by some companies' practice of giving hourly employees titles that sound like they are exempt, such as assistant manager. If you don't perform true management functions, then no matter what your job title says, they are still required to pay you overtime.

To learn how we can help resolve your employment issue, call our law firm in Atlanta, GA and talk to an attorney today.

Duties Test for Exempt Employees

As mentioned above, if you perform typical white-collar duties, then you may be an exempt employee. There are three principle white-collar exemptions:

  1. Executive
  2. Administrative
  3. Professional

There are also a number of miscellaneous exemptions.

Executive Exemption

For your employer to prove that your duties are primarily executive in nature, your employer must demonstrate three separate facts:

  • Your primary duty consists of either managing your employer's business, or a specific department of the business
  • You customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two full-time employees
  • You have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or have significant input into hiring, firing, and other important employment decisions