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Overtime Labor Laws

Federal overtime laws, designed to help end the exempt vs. non-exempt debate, have made things worse. To non-exempt and exempt employees, labor laws continue to confuse.

Business Management Daily can help you comply with federal overtime laws. Learn when you have to pay overtime, and when you don’t.

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With job markets tight and employers shunning applicants with long, unexplained résumé gaps, the ambitious unemployed are opting for unpaid internships. On the surface, that looks like a win-win: The employer gets free labor in exchange for valuable training. The intern also builds skills and prevents big résumé holes. But before you get carried away by the prospect of marvelous production for virtually no cost, let’s have a reality check.
In the past year, the U.S. Department of Labor has renewed its focus on combating employee misclassification, and there has been a recent significant increase in the number of wage-and-hour lawsuits. In many of these cases, workers are challenging their designation as exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
A New York court has granted class-­action status to a lawsuit filed by ben­efits consultants at a subsidiary of the WellCare health system, who allege they were misclassified as exempt.
Here’s a scary hypothetical: A female exempt employee comes into HR to complain about sex discrimination and pay bias. She tells you she works for a male supervisor; two men hold the same position she does. Her hourly rate based on a 40-hour workweek is higher than either of the men’s. But she argues that her supervisor makes her work longer hours. She says that’s pay discrimination. What do you tell her?

Today’s tight economy has prompted many employers to try to reduce costs—including overtime—by classifying workers as independent contractors instead of employees. That hasn’t escaped the notice of the U.S. Department of Labor, which has stepped up efforts to deter misclassification.

In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court in June rejected class-action status for an estimated 1.5 million female employees who brought gender-discrimination claims against Walmart, the country’s largest private employer. The issue before the High Court wasn’t whether Walmart discriminates against women, but whether the 1.5 million-member class was legitimate.
Q. We are requiring some hourly employees to take additional training. Those who work the day shift can attend the training in lieu of work. But employees who work the night shift will have to come in during the day. Must we pay extra for the night shift employees to attend the training?

Whether or not to pay employees for on-call time comes down to one question: How many restrictions are you putting on the employees’ personal time? The EEOC says on-call time be­­comes compensable under the FLSA “when the on-call conditions are so restrictive or the calls to duty so frequent that the employee cannot effectively use on-call time for personal purposes.”

As the world of work becomes more technologically driven, some employees are seeing their job responsibilities change. Those jobs may then change from hourly to exempt under the FLSA.
Q. I heard something about a new wage-and-hour smartphone app that the Department of Labor has announced. What does it mean for our company?
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