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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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.
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.
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.

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.
Employees who believe they haven’t been properly paid for the time they spend getting into and out of protective gear are engaging lawyers and filing class-action lawsuits.

A unanimous California Supreme Court has ruled that California-based employers must pay out-of-state resident employees based on the provisions of the California Labor Code, even if those employees only visit the state on a limited, temporary basis. The decision is worrisome for multi­state employers because it may open the door for more employee lawsuits seeking the generous protections offered by California law.

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