Blue-collar workers are the backbone of the business world. Without their significant contributions, many American industries would not be nearly as successful. Many blue-collar workers in North Carolina put in long hours and deserve to be fairly compensated for any overtime they put in. The attorneys at Gibbons Law Group, PLLC fight for the rights of blue-collar workers every day.
If you believe your employer owes you overtime pay, give us a call to explore your options: 704-612-0038.
What is overtime pay?
Overtime pay is a right guaranteed to certain employees by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA requires that all eligible U.S. employees receive overtime pay for each hour worked beyond the standard 40 hours per workweek. The employee must receive one and a half times the regular rate of pay for overtime hours.
Based on the criteria listed in the FLSA, employers must classify employees as exempt or non-exempt.
Who is exempt from overtime pay?
Employees that qualify as exempt under Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA are not legally entitled to overtime pay. Exempt employees generally fall into one of the following categories:
- Executive employees (known as a white-collar employee): Positions that require involvement in management decisions
- Administrative employees (white-collar): Positions that require office work connected with the operations of the business
- Professional employees (white-collar): Positions requiring creative skill, advanced education, or advanced certification
- Outside sales employees: Positions that require making the majority of sales away from the place of business
- Computer employees: Positions requiring skilled work in the computer field
Each exemption has its own list of criteria with respect to employee job duties and salary. Generally, exempt employees must make over $455 per week on a salaried basis and perform specific work duties.
Are blue-collar workers exempt from overtime pay?
Blue-collar workers are generally employees who:
- Engage in physical labor
- Use physical energy
- Perform repetitive work duties
- Acquire job skills and knowledge through apprenticeships and on-the-job training
These employees do not fit into any of the exemptions listed in the FLSA and are, therefore, not exempt regardless of how much money they make. Non-exempt blue-collar workers, such as the following, are entitled to receive overtime pay from their employer:
- Construction workers
- Operating engineers
How do employers violate overtime laws regarding blue-collar employees?
Many employers violate overtime laws because they do not take the time to read and understand the FLSA regulations. Other employers violate the laws intentionally to save the company money or to retaliate against a particular employee. In any case, employees should be aware of the different ways employers violate overtime laws so they can better protect themselves.
Misclassification of an Employee
Employers should thoroughly review each FLSA exemption and determine each employee’s exemption status based on the employee’s job duties and salary.
Some employers do not take the time to do this and end up misclassifying a non-exempt employee as exempt. For example, employers may incorrectly assume that all salaried employees are automatically exempt. However, the FLSA lists specific duties an employee must perform to qualify under each exemption. If an employee’s job duties do not meet this criterion, s/he might be non-exempt, regardless of how high his/her salary is.
Reclassification of an Employee
When an employer becomes aware that it violated overtime law, it may reclassify an employee’s position without changing any of his/her job duties. The employer may also fail to pay the employee backpay for the overtime s/he previously earned. Reclassifying an employee with the same job duties may constitute an admission of a violation.
Misclassifying an Employee as an Independent Contractor
To qualify for overtime, workers need to be employees under the law. Employers may attempt to classify a worker as an independent contractor or temporary worker to avoid paying him/her overtime.
Failure to Pay Enough Overtime
Employers may fail to pay an employee the correct amount of overtime owed based on the FLSA regulations. Some employers delete overtime hours from employee timesheets or simply refuse to pay employees for all hours worked. Employers may also violate the law by paying less than 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay for overtime hours worked. An employer may even try to avoid paying an employee for work-related activities such as on-the-job travel.
Generally, failure to pay a non-exempt employee for extra hours spent on work-related business is a violation of overtime law.
Phil Gibbons, Charlotte, NC employee rights lawyer, can help blue-collar employees recover unpaid overtime.
When an employer withholds overtime pay from a non-exempt employee, it has violated federal law and should take responsibility for its actions.
To hold your employer accountable, you need to prove that it misclassified you as exempt. If you are successful, you are entitled to overtime backpay for the overtime hours you worked in the past. You might also be entitled to the same amount in liquidated damages unless your employer can prove that it was acting in good faith when it failed to adequately pay you for your work.
Courts will determine how much to compensate you based on your employment records. If your employer failed to keep records, the courts will base your damages on a reasonable estimate.
Filing a successful misclassification case against an employer is difficult. An overtime misclassification lawyer can help you build a case against your employer and prove the number of hours you should have been compensated for.
If you think your employer is violating overtime laws, call our attorneys for assistance. The team at Gibbons Law Group, PLLC has an in-depth knowledge of FLSA exemptions and can help determine your exemption status. If you are a non-exempt employee who is not being paid for overtime, we can help get you the compensation you earned.
Contact us today: 704-612-0038