Employees have a right to receive fair pay including overtime for their work under federal and Utah state law.
June 24, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- As an employee, you have a right under federal and Utah state law to be compensated fairly for your work. If you are a "non-exempt" employee, this means that you are entitled to overtime pay for work time that exceeds 40 hours during a given seven-day workweek.
Your employer should explain whether you are an exempt (salaried) or non-exempt employee at the time of your hire. If you have questions about your status, talk to your supervisor or human resources representative. The Fair Labor Standards Act provides many different exemptions, but common classes of exempt employees include commission-based sales people, managers, drivers, farm workers and salaried professionals.
SmithKline Case: Are Employees Exempt or Non-Exempt?
The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued an opinion, Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation, that found marketing representatives of drug companies were more akin to outside salespersons and could be classified as exempt employees. The employees worked 50 to 60 hours per week visiting doctors. They did not punch a pay clock and had minimal supervision. The employees received a salary and bonuses based on market share of the drugs they promoted in their territories.
However, the case was not unanimous. In a 5-4 decision, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the dissent and noted that the employees were seeking "nonbinding commitments" and these could not be classified as sales. He analogized the "nonbinding commitment" to a "definite maybe" or an "impossible solution." The employee representatives "might convince a doctor to prescribe a drug for a particular kind of patient," however, more work was required to complete the sale.
The case demonstrates that employee classification is not always clear cut. An experienced employment lawyer can review job descriptions and actual duties and provide guidance to ensure correct classification of employees.
Drug companies had quite a bit at stake in the case, because the case was representative of industry practices. If the employees should have been classified as non-exempt, the employers would have been on the hook for back pay and possible penalties.
Overtime Requirements for Non-Exempt Employees
Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay of at least 1.5 times their usual hourly wage for each hour of overtime worked.
It is important to recognize that overtime applies to an entire workweek, not just one workday. You are not entitled to overtime simply for working a shift that is longer than eight hours if you still do not work more than 40 hours over the course of the week.
Similarly, there is no legal requirement for an employer to pay overtime rates for weekend, evening or holiday work if these shifts do not put the worker over the 40-hour threshold. However, if your employment or collective bargaining contract requires higher pay rates for these types of shifts, you may still be able to take action against your employer for denying you appropriate pay.
Further, there is no special rule for part-time employees. The 40-hour threshold still applies. If scheduled for more than 40 hours in one workweek, you should receive overtime pay.
If your employer ignores overtime rules, you have the right to seek back pay and other damages. In addition, the employer may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties. If you think your employer is violating overtime rules, speak with a Utah employment law attorney who can advise of possible remedies.
Article provided by Stavros Law, P.C.
Visit us at www.stavroslaw.com/
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