Unfortunately, it is quite common for employers to misclassify their employees in an attempt to evade having to pay employment taxes, as well as to fairly compensate employees for the work that they deserve to be paid for. If you have been misclassified by an employer, you could be missing out on overtime wages or other benefits you are entitled to receive.

Your employer may try to tell you that your overtime work is just part of your salary, which is not true. Any hours worked over 40 in a single work week entitle employees to be paid overtime at the rate of time-and-a-half. A Clearwater Fair Labor Standards Act lawyer can help prove that you are misclassified based on your work experience, education, work duties, and other factors surrounding your employment. If you believe you have been misclassified as an employee and are being taken advantage of, contact our experienced Clearwater employee misclassification lawyers today to begin being compensated for what you deserve.

Exempt Employees

There are many different kinds of exempt employees. Exempt employees can be executives or administrative workers at an office. They can be learned professionals, meaning they have some type of specialized knowledge or career and they have a degree in that particular area. Computer employees can be exempt outside sales. Any employees who make over $100,000 in a particular business can be exempt. There are all sorts of employees who can be exempt from FLSA, such as independent contractors.

  • Executive Exemption

To qualify for the executive exemption, an employee must not be paid less than $455 a week. Their primary duty must be managing the enterprise of a recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise. The employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more full-time employees and must have the authority to hire and fire other employees.

  • Administrative Exemption

To qualify for the administrative exemption, an employee must not be paid less than $455 a week. Their primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly relating to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers. The primary duty must also include the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

  • Learned Professional Exemption

For the learned professional exemption, the employee must not make less than $455 a week. The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge defined as work, which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment. They must have advanced knowledge in the field of science or learning and the advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.

  • Computer Employee Exemption

For the computer employee exemption, an employee must not make less than $455 a week. They must be employed as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer, or other similarly skilled worker in the computer field, performing the duties of a computer professional.

  • Outside Sales Exemption

For the outside sales exemption, the employee’s primary duty must be making sales or obtaining orders or contracts for services for the use of facilities for which a consideration is paid by the client or customer and the employee must be customarily and regularly engaged away from the employer’s place of business.

  • Highly Compensated Exemption

When an employee is highly compensated, meaning they make more than $100,000 a year, they are exempt from FLSA.

Protections that Exempt Employees Lack

Exempt employees are not protected under FLSA to receive time and a half for their overtime, but many times an exempt employee can negotiate their pay for the work that they do.

For example, a learned professional should have an understanding of what they should be paid when making the conscious decision to accept employment. If somebody makes over a $100,000 a year, they generally have enough experience or knowledge to understand how to negotiate the work they will perform for that amount of money.

The FLSA is put in place for lower level staff, such as hourly workers, manual laborers, restaurant staff, and those who hold entry-level positions. Individuals in these roles are more likely to be taken advantage of by their employer without even knowing it.

If an individual is a manager or a learned professional, these laws do not protect them and allow people in their situation to work more than 40 hours a week without collecting overtime.

Non-Exempt Employees

A non-exempt employee in Clearwater is someone who meets all the requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Some of the exemptions to FLSA are a commission sales employee where the majority of their job is outside sales. Drivers and loaders are exempt from overtime pay provisions of the FLSA if they are employed by a motor carrier. Some farm workers are exempt, as are learned professionals, who are people who have higher levels of specified education. There are managerial exemptions for when somebody manages employees beneath them, and independent contractors are usually exempt.

Non-Exempt Employee Protections

Non-exempt employees are protected by the FLSA to ensure they are paid at least minimum wage or if they are working over 40 hours a week, they are paid time and a half for their overtime hours. FLSA also ensures that minors do not work more hours than allotted by the government.

How a Clearwater FLSA Lawyer Can Help

Employers try to misclassify an employee as a manager or as a salaried employee so they do not have to pay them overtime when the employee works more than 40 hours a week. Once it can be proven that somebody was misclassified and that FLSA does apply to them, an attorney is able to get them time and a half for any hours they work over 40 hours a week.

For misclassification issues, an attorney can interview all of the other employees at a particular business. The attorney can try to obtain all of the records from the employer to prove the misclassification case because the employer has the burden of proving what the employee’s position is and how many hours they worked. When a lawyer is able to interview everyone and in the process of obtaining records discovers that the employer did not maintain proper records and does not know what work the employee performs, the evidence will show that the employee’s testimony is proof that they are misclassified. For example, the individual was not a manager because they did not have any managerial power or the ability to hire and fire other employees.

The attorney can obtain the employer’s pay records that shows how they classify and pay other employees to see if anybody else is misclassified in the company. When the investigation is finished, the attorney can put together testimony, evidence, and some kind of proof showing that the employee is misclassified, and what they should actually be classified as. For a non-exempt employee, the attorney can pursue the rights they have under FLSA and try to recoup the wages or overtime that the employee was not paid.

Common Misconceptions

Some common misconceptions about exempt employees are that they do not have any recourse if some of their wages are kept from them. There are laws protecting any wages not paid by an employer. Even if you are exempt from FLSA and your employer does not pay you the wages for which you worked, you should hire an attorney. An FLSA lawyer can file a claim for those wages and your employer must pay all of the attorney’s fees and costs.

The difference between an exempt employee and a non-exempt employee is those wages are not liquidated. So, if you are owed $1,000, then your employer must pay $1,000. If there is an FLSA violation and it is for $1,000 of overtime, then that money is liquidated and it becomes $2,000.

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