Fair Labor Standards Act Employee Classifications

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was enacted to prevent exploitation of workers by their employers and to set national standards of pay, protection, and job classifications. One critical aspect of this legislation was that it set up the nationwide precedent of ordering a time and a half pay structure for any overtime. However, who qualified for overtime and what constituted overtime was a very contentious issue, and a number of jobs such as administrative, professional, and executive employees were exempted from overtime pay protections

In August 2004, the Fair Labor Standards Act was amended in order to revise the number of job classifications that fell into the overtime exempt category. While this plan is expected to save employers billions of dollars in overtime pay, it in essence forces millions of workers to labor longer for less pay. The "clarification" of exempt categories has become a major issue for a number of occupations, as workers with no administrative or executive authority now find their jobs "reclassified" as exempt so that their employers do not have to pay overtime wages.

There are two main tests that your employer must use to declare you exempt - the wage test and duties test. You may be exempted from overtime protection if your job meets certain criteria, and if you do not and were reclassified your employer may be breaking the law. An experienced legal team with a comprehensive understanding of complex labor laws can help you protect your rights and fight for the just compensation you deserve. Contact someone today.

Exemptions and Fair Labor Standards Act Legal Guidance

The exemptions to the overtime protection of the FLSA have always been complicated, but the new amendments enacted in 2004 attempted to reorganize and "clarify" the qualifications for exempt employees.

For example, while the minimum salary to qualify for overtime work was tripled to almost $24,000 a year, the number of exempt employees rose exponentially. Workers with little or no administrative power suddenly became exempt from receiving overtime benefits while working longer hours.

Although no bureaucracy is perfect, the new laws that determine classified overtime exemptions have caused a number of workers to reexamine their situations. The efforts to streamline and simplify the classification systems have left millions of previously eligible workers unable to collect overtime pay. Furthermore, unscrupulous businesses have "reclassified" many jobs as exempt without using the necessary standard wage and duties tests.

If your new job classification exempts you from overtime compensation and you believe you are being treated unfairly you need to contact a labor law attorney immediately. Your employer may be violating your federal rights. An experienced FLSA attorney can help you secure the compensation that you have rightfully earned - contact one today.

Professional FLSA Exemptions

Understanding the various exemptions to the labor laws of the United States is a confusing and complicated endeavor. While the classification of doctors, lawyers, and other “professional” occupations as exempt from many FLSA protections is self-evident, the law ambiguously stipulates that professionals “who regularly exercise discretion and judgment” are also exempt.

The Fair Labor Standards Act provides for a “professional exemption” for such jobs as:

  • One that requires advanced education or knowledge
  • Work in an original and creative artistic field
  • Teaching
  • Computer systems analyst, programmer, engineer, or similar field
  • Those who perform work which is intellectual and varied in character, the accomplishment of which cannot be standardized as to time
  • Those who regularly exercise discretion and judgment

These classifications have frustrated many workers, such as computer and information system workers, who have a great deal of specialized knowledge but no professional training. These changes to the law allow many companies to reclassify these workers as “professionals” and thus not pay them overtime.

Your employer must establish precisely why your position qualifies for a professional exemption through a number of wage and duty tests. Salaried positions are generally immediately exempt from overtime, but other positions must meet specific requirements in order to be exempt. If you believe you were not properly compensated for your work, you may be entitled to take legal action. Contact an experienced labor law attorney today.

Administrative Exemptions & FLSA Lawsuit Filing

In an effort to clarify the status of the large numbers of people who work in an administrative capacity, the U.S. government updated the list of occupations exempt from overtime pay. This change meant that millions of administrative workers could potentially be forced to work extra hours with no hope of the time and a half pay rate guaranteed by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The new classifications for administrative exemptions include:

  • Employees who perform office or non-manual work which is directly related to the management policies or general business operations of their employer or their employer's customers
  • Administration workers of an educational establishment
  • Those who either assist a proprietor or executive, perform specialized or technical work, or execute special assignments
  • Those who regularly exercise discretion and judgment in their work

The final qualification allows many businesses to reclassify virtually anyone who interacts with another worker as "administrative." Fortunately for these workers, their employer must prove through a number of wage and duty tests that a change in classification and exemption from overtime wages is merited and just.

If you feel that your new classification is unfair and you are no longer collecting the wages you deserve, you may have a right to take your employer to court. Understanding labor law is incredibly challenging and difficult, so make sure you have an experienced, dedicated, and knowledgeable team of legal professionals ready to fight for your rights.

Executive Exemptions and FLSA Law

People who make over $100,000 a year do not qualify for overtime pay, regardless of the duties they perform or the services they render. Although not always the case, new changes to the law can directly impact workers should their employer decide to loosely interpret the law.

The recent changes to the FLSA now distinguish several categories of executive exemptions including workers who:

  • Have management as their primary duty
  • Direct two or more full-time employees
  • Have the authority to hire and fire or make recommendations regarding decisions affecting the employment status of others
  • Regularly exercise a high degree of independent judgment in their work
  • Do not devote more than 20% of their time to non-management functions or 40% in retail and service establishments.

Many people in non-executive positions have found their jobs "reclassified" by unscrupulous employers. If you feel that you have been a victim of labor law infractions of any kind, you have a legal right to take action. The Fair Labor Standards Act is designed to protect workers and should not be made to work against you. An experienced FLSA attorney can help you understand the complex nature of modern labor laws, and represent you in your fight for justice. Contact someone today.

Computer Professional Exemptions

When the Fair Standards Labor Act was written in 1938, no one could have imagined the existence of a computing machine let alone its importance in the American marketplace. As the computer became the dominant force in business, the people who built, repaired, and maintained these miraculous machines found that they had specific issues that needed to be addressed in the law.

Recent changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act have made it extremely difficult for many computer workers to collect overtime. These people had little or no "professional" training but possessed a high level of technical knowledge and skill. Graduates of technical or vocational schools are now grouped with doctors and lawyers and are unable to collect the wages that they have rightfully earned.

Computer Professional Exemptions:

As of 2004, computer industry "professionals" now include:

  • computer system analysts
  • programmers
  • software engineers
  • any "similarly skilled worker in the computer software field

This allows companies to "reclassify" virtually anyone who fixes, moves, or simply uses a computer as a professional, and thus deny them any overtime pay.

If you are a computer professional and you are no longer eligible for overtime pay, you may be a victim of FLSA abuse. There are a number of tests your employer must consider before they can deny you your wages, and an experienced FLSA attorney can help you fight for your rights under the law. Contact someone today.

Misclassification of Exempt Employees

By their very nature, businesses must look for ways to minimize costs in order to remain solvent. Usually this comes from reducing extraneous expenses, increasing productivity and efficiency, and seeking new revenue in diversified fields. Unfortunately, some companies are reducing expenses by neglecting labor laws or ignoring them altogether.

The changes to the Fair Standards and Labor Act in 2004 allowed unscrupulous employers to "reclassify" employees into overtime exempt positions, making them work extra hours without the standard time and a half wage. Millions of workers were shocked to discover they were no longer eligible for overtime pay, and still required to work long hours by their employers.

If your job title was recently "reclassified" but your pay and duties remained the same, you may be a victim FLSA abuse. These laws are intended to protect workers, not to be used against them. Labor law is extremely complicated, so it is wise to seek out experienced and dedicated legal counsel to represent your case and fight for your rights. Contact someone today.

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Exemptions FLSA Professional, Administrative, Executive FLSA Exemptions and Misclassification of Exempt Employees page has been updated on 9/28/06.