Do you believe you are being cheated out of the overtime pay you are owed? If so, you need to talk to an employment attorney. At Gibbons Leis PLLC, our attorneys know what your rights are and will make sure you are being paid what you have earned.

Understanding Overtime Pay Regulations

To receive overtime pay, you must work for an employer that is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA covers employers with two or more employees who fit one or more of the following criteria:

  • Earns a minimum of $500,000 in sales each year
  • Primarily cares for the ill or elderly (e.g., hospitals, mental health facilities, nursing homes, etc.)
  • Is an institution of learning for any level of education (e.g., elementary school, school for handicapped, gifted school, etc.)
  • Is a governmental agency

Most employers meet the criteria above and are therefore legally required to pay their employees overtime. If employees work for a company that does not fit any of the above criteria, the FLSA may still cover them on an individual basis if their work during the workweek requires them to be involved in interstate or foreign commerce or the production of goods for interstate or foreign commerce.

How much overtime pay will I receive?

The FLSA and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act require all covered employers to pay their eligible employees one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay for any hours worked beyond the 40-hour standard workweek. Firefighters, paramedics, and certain other employees will receive overtime for work periods instead of workweeks.

Are all employees of covered employers eligible to receive overtime?

No. Covered employers must classify their employees as exempt or non-exempt. Only non-exempt employees are eligible to receive overtime for any hours they work beyond the 40-hour workweek. To determine whether an employee is exempt under the FLSA, we must consider the following questions:

  • Is the employee salaried? Only salaried employees can be exempt under the FLSA.
  • Does the employee earn enough money to be exempt? In most cases, an employee will have to earn over $455 per week to qualify as exempt from overtime pay.
  • Does the employee meet the job duties criteria of an FLSA exemption? The FLSA lists five main exemptions including executive, administrative, professional, computer, and outside sales. If an employee’s job description meets the criteria listed under one of these exemptions, he may be exempt from overtime.

What overtime exemptions might affect me?

To qualify as exempt from overtime, an employee’s work duties must fit under one of the five main FLSA exemptions:

  • Executive. To be exempt, the employee must be in charge of two or more employees, have the authority to change the job status of an employee, and be responsible for managing the company or a department within the company.
  • Administrative. Exempt administrative employees must be primarily in charge of non-manual office work connected with running the company and be able to use their own discretion to make significant decisions related to the company.
  • Professional. Exempt professionals must do work using a specific skill set or advanced knowledge in an intellectual field (e.g., lawyers, doctors, professors).
  • Computer. Computer employees’ job duties must include computer programming, computer analysis, designing or developing systems, testing or modifying computer programs, and other skilled work in the computer field. Also, computer employees do not need to be salaried to be exempt. They will qualify as exempt as long as they make more than $27.63 an hour.
  • Outside sales. Outside sales employees must primarily conduct their business away from the employer’s office and be mainly focused on making sales or obtaining orders or service contracts. There is no salary requirement for outside sales employees.

Executive, administrative, and professional employees fall under white-collar exemptions. Employees who do not meet the criteria of any of these exemptions are non-exempt and will be eligible to receive overtime. Generally, blue-collar workers and fire protection employees are non-exempt based on their unique work duties and long shifts.

How might an employer violate the law?

Overtime laws may seem straightforward and easy to abide by, but many employers misinterpret the laws or interpret them to their advantage. Some employers misclassify employees as exempt and fail to pay them the overtime they earned. Other employers miscalculate the amount of overtime owed or mistakenly fail to count hours spent on work-related tasks as working hours.

Employees who do not receive the overtime they are entitled to have the right to file suit against their employer. Our attorneys will carefully evaluate your position and determine whether you are exempt or non-exempt. Once we have established that you are non-exempt, we will gather evidence, including pay stubs and work logs to prove that you have not been getting the money you deserve.

What can I recover?

If our attorneys can establish that your employer violated federal law by not paying you overtime, you will receive damages from your employer. These damages can come in the form of:

  • Back pay for the overtime you earned in the past but did not receive
  • Liquidated damages in an amount double the amount of back pay owed unless the employer can show it was acting in good faith.
  • Attorney’s fees

It is disheartening to receive less than you should for the work you do. The good news is that you can hold your employer responsible for violating your rights. Contact attorney Phil Gibbons at Gibbons Leis, PLLC at (704) 612-0038 to find out more about overtime pay laws and your right to recover damages.