Most employees that are not exempt must be paid overtime pay in North Carolina. This means non-exempt salaried and hourly employees must receive time and a half for any hours worked over 40 in any given week.
If you believe your employer owes you backpay because it refused to pay you for overtime hours, Gibbons Leis, PLLC can help. We fight for the wages you earned, getting you the money that is rightfully yours. Call us today at 704-612-0038 for a free case review.
Overtime and the Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) ensures eligible employees who work more than 40 hours in a week receive overtime pay of at least one and a half times their regular pay rate for their extra hours. It does not limit the number of hours an employer can require employees to work, but it does stipulate that they must receive the overtime rate unless they are exempt.
It is important to note that overtime only applies to working more than 40 hours in a single week. It does not apply to working more than eight hours in a day or working more than 80 hours during a two week pay period. Employers cannot average hours worked over a pay period, or otherwise borrow hours from one week to avoid paying overtime during another week.
To ensure they pay all eligible employees the appropriate amount of overtime pay, all employers should:
- Determine the employee’s regular rate of pay
- Multiply their regular rate times 40
- Determine how many hours over 40 they worked
- Multiply their regular rate times 1.5 to determine the overtime rate
- Multiply the overtime rate times the number of hours over 40
- Add the regular wages and the overtime wages together
Determining If an Employee Is Exempt
The FLSA outlines the exemptions to the overtime rule and explains how to classify employees as exempt or non-exempt based on their job duties and other factors. If an employee meets the criteria of an exempt worker, his employer does not have to pay him overtime. Otherwise, the employer must pay overtime for any hours over 40 the employee works in a week.
Many people believe the deciding factor for exemption is earning a salary. However, payment of a salary is only one part of this determination. Many salaried employees must receive overtime unless they meet the other requirements for exemption.
The rules for exemption are complicated, but in general, you need to:
- Earn a guaranteed salary of $455 or more each week; and
- Supervise other employees; or
- Serve in a managerial, professional, or administrative role; or
- Perform certain exempt job duties, as outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 541
While CFR § 541 is a federal law, the North Carolina Department of Labor also adopted it as the governing rule for identifying exempt employees in the state.
The Dangers of Misclassification
It is very dangerous for companies to misclassify employees for overtime purposes. Not only can they face civil suits from employees who seek to recover wages stolen from them, but federal and state agencies are on the lookout for this type of employment law violation.
Some employers purposefully misclassify non-exempt workers as exempt, trying to save money by asking them to work more without paying out overtime wages. They may even pay them a salary and give them a job title that insinuates they are a supervisor, but they perform the same tasks as those they supervise. In other cases, misclassification can occur accidentally, because the employer simply does not understand the law. Either way, misclassification is wage theft.
Misclassifying employees can cost a company thousands of dollars, or more. In addition to paying out to cover the wages owed to workers, they may also face stiff fines from the Department of Labor. Criminal prosecution and significant fines for each misclassified employee are possible.
The Role of a Workers’ Rights Attorney
If you believe your employer misclassified you, we can help determine if you meet the criteria for exempt employees, or if your employer must pay you overtime wages.
We can handle the recovery of your lost wages and other backpay, ensuring you receive the full amount of compensation you earned. If your employer or former employer refuses, we have other options for getting the wages your employer stole from you. If necessary, we are not afraid to take your case in front of a judge and ask that the court award you the overtime you deserve.
Talk to an Employee Rights Attorney in North Carolina Today
We help workers understand their rights and recover wages owed to them. Call Gibbons Leis, PLLC today for help with your North Carolina overtime pay questions.
You can reach our team at 704-612-0038.