It can be challenging to determine if your employer has misclassified you an exempt employee. But if your employer has done so, it can have financially devastating consequences for you and your family.
An employment attorney can help assess your case and offer you legal advice. According to the Fair Labor Standard Act and state wage laws, you deserve to be paid all wages to which you are legally entitled including overtime pay. If your employer has misclassified you as an exempt employee when you are, in fact, legally non-exempt, you can sue to recover overtime, back wages, and lost benefits.
What is the Difference Between an Exempt and a Non-Exempt Employee?
A non-exempt employee is legally entitled to earn hourly pay including at least minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime if the employee works more than 40 hours in a week.
An exempt employee is not entitled to hourly pay or overtime so long as the employer pays this employee a “salary” and the employee’s duties meet the narrow exemption requirements.
Knowing more about overtime exemptions can help you understand if your employer has misclassified you.
- Executive Exemption: Your primary role is to manage the company or a department, and supervise at least two or more full time employees.
- Administrative Exemption: You handle day-to-day operations that require you regularly exercise substantial discretion and independence with regard to matters of significance for the employer.
- Professional Exemption: Your position requires advanced knowledge and discretion, and you receive a professional licence or certificate like a doctor or lawyer.
- Computer Employee Exemption: You have advanced duties like an analyst or software engineer.
- Outside Sales Exemption: You spend most of your time away from the office, and make sales at a customer’s home or place of business.
- Independent Contractors: You work differently from the employer’s regular employees. You work free from the employer’s supervision, provide your own tools and equipment, can work for other employers, and often have a contract which defines your pay and job duties.
What Happens When Your Employer Misclassifies You As An Exempt Employee?
Misclassification of employees is a common problem and deprives you of the protection that non-exempt employees receive. Generally, your employer is “inflating” your job title or intentionally misclassifying you to avoid paying overtime.
Common employee misclassifications.
- IT worker
- Healthcare worker
- Tipped employee
- Construction worker
When your employer misclassifies you, the employer deprives you of many employment protections and benefits typically provided to employees. This includes minimum wage and overtime pay, and can include workers’ compensation coverage, unemployment insurance, and access to other benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid leave.
Employers are responsible for paying certain payroll taxes and contributing to benefits programs on behalf of their employees. When misclassifying workers as independent contractors, employers may avoid these obligations. But, if the violation is willfull, employees may be entitled to unpaid overtime compensation and other damages during the previous three years.
What Can You Do If You Have Been Misclassified?
Here are three signs you have been misclassified.
- Your employer asks you to misreport your duties.
- Other people in your role earn overtime.
- Your duties are different from other people who share your role.
If you suspect your employer of misclassifying you, you should consult an employment attorney like Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC. Most employment attorneys offer a free consultation where they can assess your claim and offer you guidance.
If you have been classified as exempt but are legally non-exempt, you can sue to recover overtime, back wages, and lost benefits. An employment attorney can help you navigate the legal system based on your case and your state. Understanding what constitutes an exempt and non-exempt employee can be challenging, so an employment attorney who understands wage laws can help you recover unpaid wages if you have a case.
Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC: Fighting Unpaid Overtime Wage Disputes Nationwide
Employers face increasing pressure to lower wage and benefit costs in today’s challenging economy. But, that doesn’t mean you should suffer due to illegal wage practices like employee misclassification.
If you suspect your employer is classifying you as an exempt employee when you are legally non-exempt, you should contact us for a free case evaluation.