Many North Carolina employees work beyond the standard 40-hour workweek to help their company and to earn extra money and better support their families. Eligible employees may be entitled to overtime pay for any extra hours they work. Even if you are a technology employee, you might be eligible to recover overtime pay. Learn more about the overtime rule on salary for exempt computer employees in North Carolina here.

If you believe you have been misclassified, call Gibbons Leis, PLLC for help recovering your overtime pay: 704-612-0038.

What is overtime pay?

The FLSA and N.C. Wage Act require that employers pay their non-exempt employees time and a half if they worked more than 40 hours over the course of seven consecutive days.

The law allows employers to change an employee’s schedule to make sure that s/he stays under 40 hours for the week. However, the law requires employers to correctly classify their employees as exempt or non-exempt. Misclassification may result in a failure to pay overtime to a deserving employee, which is against the law.

Who is exempt under the FLSA?

Under the FLSA, many employees are exempt from minimum wage and overtime pay. Many of these employees are salaried, white collar workers. In order to qualify as exempt, employees must meet three basic criteria:

They must earn more than the required amount per week.

The FLSA requires exempt employees to earn at least $455 per week or $23,660 per year.

They must be salaried.

Employees must be salaried in order to be exempt. Salaried employees must receive a predetermined, fixed amount of money on a regular basis (e.g., weekly, monthly).

They must fulfill specific job duties.

The most challenging part of determining exemption status is evaluating the job duty requirements for each exemption listed in the FLSA. There are a number of criteria listed for each of these exemptions:

  • Executive
  • Professional (both learned and creative)
  • Administrative
  • Outside sales

If an employee meets all three of the above criteria, his/her employer may consider him/her exempt from overtime pay under the FLSA.

The Computer Employee Exemption

If an employee in the computer field meets the criteria of any other exemption, he can be exempt under that exemption.

However, employers regularly classify computer employees as exempt even though they do not meet the exemption criteria. The computer employee exemption provides a unique set of criteria for computer employees who do not fall under other exemptions, but not every technology position is exempt. 

Employers may pay computer employees on an hourly or salaried basis.

Other exemptions require employees to be salaried. However, employers can pay computer employees on an hourly basis, as long as the employees receive a minimum of $27.63 per hour. If the computer employee is salaried, he will need to receive the same amount as other exempt employees ($455 per week or $23,600 per year).

Employees must be a skilled worker in the computer field.

Computer employees under this exemption must be skilled workers in the computer field. The following computer employees generally fall into this category:

  • Computer systems analysts
  • Software engineers
  • Computer programmers

Employees must conduct certain computer-related duties on a regular basis.

In addition to being a skilled employee in the computer field, the employee’s primary duties must consist of the design and analysis of computer programs. More specifically, these duties may include:

  • Designing, testing, or developing computer systems or programs
  • Creating prototypes based on certain design specifications
  • Modifying computer programs related to machine operating systems
  • Applying systems analysis techniques to determine functional specifications for computer systems

If a computer employee performs any combination of these duties as the main part of his/her job, s/he may qualify under the computer employee exemption.

What computer jobs are non-exempt?

Not all computer jobs fall under the computer employee exemption. Employees that are involved in the manufacturing or repair of computer-related equipment are typically non-exempt under this exemption.

Engineers, drafters, and other employees that use design software and other programs are also not exempt under the computer employee-exemption. The exemption generally only applies to people who are primarily involved with computer system analysis or programming. However, they may still be exempt under another FLSA exemption.

Phil Gibbons, Charlotte, NC, employee rights lawyer, can help computer employees recover unpaid overtime.

Employees classified as exempt may trust that their employers classified them accurately based on the criteria listed in the FLSA. However, the sad reality is that many employers misclassify their employees. While some employers unintentionally misunderstand the requirements, others will purposely misclassify their employees to save money. In either case, misclassified employees have legal options available to them that will allow them to recover their wages.

You put in long hours at work and you deserve to get paid for them. If you believe your employer has misclassified you as exempt, call Phil Gibbons for help today.

If you do not fall under any of the above exemptions, you may qualify as non-exempt and be entitled to overtime for the extra hours you worked. By filing a private lawsuit against your employer, you may be able to recover unpaid overtime and liquidated damages. The settlement might also cover your attorney’s fees and court costs.

To discuss your potential remedies with a qualified Charlotte misclassification attorney, contact Gibbons Leis, PLLC at 704-612-0038.